Introduction

In 1990, cities accounted for 45% of global final energy use, but by the end of 2020 this share had risen to approximately 75% and cities release a similar share of global energy-related CO₂ emissions. Today, most of the world’s energy supply is generated from fossil fuels, coal, oil, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy, and their use has a negative impact on the world’s economy, ecology, and climate.1 Therefore, the use and need of renewable energy resources such as solar energy, is increasing and becoming more possible due to the rapid development of relevant technologies and scientific knowledge.2 34 56

This guide introduces a step by step approach to map rooftop solar potential in a city. The guide is intended for the use of city planners, infrastructure managers and city data analysts. With the outputs of this guide, decision makers can make informed decisions to advance the implementation of sustainable and renewable energy solutions in their city.


  1. REN21 (2021), Renewables in Cities 2021 Global Status Report (Paris: REN21 Secretariat)↩︎

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  3. Uyan, M. (2013). GIS-based solar farms site selection using analytic hierarchy process (AHP) in Karapinar region, Konya/Turkey. Renewable And Sustainable Energy Reviews, 28, 11-17. doi: 10.1016/j.rser.2013.07.042↩︎

  4. Li, C. (2018). GIS for Urban Energy Analysis. Comprehensive Geographic Information Systems, 187-195. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-409548-9.09652-4↩︎

  5. Kirby Calvert, J.M. Pearce, W. E. Mabee. Toward renewable energy geo-information infrastructures: Applications of GIScience and remote sensing that build institutional capacity. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, 2013, 18, pp.416-429. 10.1016/j.rser.2012.10.024. hal-02120459↩︎

  6. Resch, B., Sagl, G., Törnros, T., Bachmaier, A., Eggers, J., & Herkel, S. et al. (2014). GIS-Based Planning and Modeling for Renewable Energy: Challenges and Future Research Avenues. ISPRS International Journal Of Geo-Information, 3(2), 662-692. doi: 10.3390/ijgi3020662↩︎