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An overview of the Solar Radiation toolset

Available with Spatial Analyst license.

The solar radiation analysis tools enable you to map and analyze the effects of the sun over a geographic area for specific time periods.

You can perform solar radiation analysis for a landscape or specific location using two methods:

  • The Area Solar Radiation tool is used to calculate the insolation across an entire landscape. The calculations are repeated for each location in the input topographic surface, producing insolation maps for an entire geographic area.
  • The Points Solar Radiation tool is used to calculate the amount of radiant energy for a given location. Locations can be stored as point features or as x,y coordinates in a location table. Solar radiation calculations can be performed for specified locations only.

For diagnostic purposes, you can use the Solar Radiation Graphics tool to create graphic representations of the visible sky (viewshed map), the sun's position in the sky across a period of time (sun map), and the sectors of the sky that influence the amount of incoming solar radiation (sky map). Conceptually, these "maps" are used internally during analysis to calculate the total amount of solar radiation for a particular location or area.

The following table lists the available solar radiation tools and provides a brief description of each.

ToolDescription

Area Solar Radiation

Derives incoming solar radiation from a raster surface.

Points Solar Radiation

Derives incoming solar radiation for specific locations in a point feature class or location table.

Solar Radiation Graphics

Derives raster representations of a hemispherical viewshed, sun map, and sky map, which are used in the calculation of direct, diffuse, and global solar radiation.

Tools of the Solar Radiation toolset

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