Estimation of rooftop solar photovoltaic potential using geo-spatial techniques: A perspective from planned neighborhood of Karachi – Pakistan


Quantification of rooftop PV potential of DHA Phase 7 Karachi using satellite imagery.

An easy-to-use rooftop feature extraction methodology has been proposed.

Assessment of results through field validation work and survey.

Estimation of solar power potential and annual energy output.

Study highlighted potential of solar energy for electricity generation in Karachi.


With an ever increasing population and significant solar resource availability throughout the whole year, Karachi metropolis hold a promising rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) potential considering its millions of urban households. This research work highlights techniques to combine geographic information systems (GIS) and object-based image recognition approach to identify the available rooftop area for PV deployment in a small scale region of DHA Phase 7 Karachi. A six step methodology has been adopted for the estimation of rooftop PV potential which involves geographic division of high resolution satellite imagery; sampling and rooftop feature extraction using FE tool of ENVI EX software; extrapolation of rooftop areas for the entire ROI using roof area-population relationship; visual inspection to analyze different rooftop factors such as building orientation, shading effect from trees and nearby buildings and other roof uses; a comparison of extracted rooftops to the physically measured sample rooftops, reduction for shading and other uses; and finally conversion to energy and power outputs. A relationship of total roof area and population of 13 m2/capita ±5% has been found. With higher efficiency rooftop PV panels, 12.24 MW of solar power can be generated which is 122.4% of peak power demand of DHA Phase 7.


  • Rooftop PV potential;
  • Karachi;
  • Solar resource;
  • Urban solar planning;
  • GIS

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