EO Solar

Solar atlas shows the potential of solar systems in Germany

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has developed a solar atlas that determines the potential of solar installations on buildings in Germany. Approximately 20 million buildings in Germany were analysed using artificial intelligence and Earth observation data. The atlas supports policymakers in developing strategies for the energy transition and is publicly accessible at eosolar.dlr.de.

EO Solar uses Earth observation data analysed with machine learning to determine the potential electrical output based on roof orientation, hours of sunshine and shade. It provides an up-to-date and standardised representation that supplements existing, often incomplete solar cadastres at the state, district or municipal level.

Instead of using building models, the DLR approach utilises digital surface models of the terrain, such as those generated by aircraft and satellites. This automatically takes account of shading caused by trees and the surrounding terrain. In addition, the approach allows the method to be easily extended to other countries that do not have building model data. The solar energy potential of open spaces can also be easily taken into account in planning.

The current expansion potential can be determined through a comparison with the solar installations registered in the market data register. In contrast to local tools for private use, the data in EO Solar is recorded throughout Germany and aggregated at the municipality, district or city level in order to provide policy makers and planners with a basis for planning – for example, to specifically support the expansion of solar installations.

Using a specially developed AI process, solar systems already installed on roofs are mapped in high-resolution aerial image and satellite data so that potential and current status analyses can be carried out on any area regardless of the local data situation.

The solar atlas illustrates how Earth observation is being used successfully for climate protection and the further expansion of sustainable energy generation.


German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Earth Observation Center (EOC)
E-Mail contact-dlr@DLR.de

This visualisation from the EO Solar application shows the solar potential for the city of Berlin. The yellow colour indicates that the potential for solar roofs is high. Other colours in shades up to dark blue indicate a lower suitability for solar energy generation.
Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)