Incidence of photovoltaics in cities based on indicators of occupancy and urban sustainability

Antonio Barragán-Escandón, Esteban Zalamea-León, Julio Terrados-Cepeda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Previous research has assessed the potential of solar energy against possible demand; however, the sustainability issues associated with the use of large-scale photovoltaic deployment in urban areas have not been jointly established. In this paper, the impact of photovoltaic energy in the total urban energy mix is estimated using a series of indicators that consider the economic, environmental and social dimensions. These indicators have been previously applied at the country level; the main contribution of this research is applying them at the urban level to the city of Cuenca, Ecuador. Cuenca is close to the equatorial line and at a high altitude, enabling this area to reach the maximum self-supply index because of the high irradiation levels and reduced demand. The solar potential was estimated using a simple methodology that applies several indexes that were proven reliable in a local context considering this particular sun path. The results demonstrate that the solar potential can meet the electric power demand of this city, and only the indicator related to employment is positive and substantially affected. The indicators related to the price of energy, emissions and fossil fuel dependency do not change significantly, unless a fuel-to-electricity transport system conversions take place.

Original languageEnglish
Article number810
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2019


  • Urban photovoltaics
  • Urban renewable energy
  • Urban solar potential


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