Editorial Feature

Innovative PV System Installation Method for Limited Area Applications

In the past few decades, there has been a global movement toward the use of clean energy sources. These energy sources have been shown to be ecologically beneficial and cost-effective over time. Recently, a team of researchers, writing in the journal Buildings, has considered daily global and diffuse solar radiation evaluated on a horizontal surface to establish the most efficient angles of installation. 

Study: A New Configuration of Roof Photovoltaic System for Limited Area Applications—A Case Study in KSA. Image Credit: surasak jailak/Shutterstock.com

Solar energy resources are seen as a game-changer that can help most Middle Eastern countries solve their power generation difficulties. As a result, Saudi Arabia (KSA) is one of the countries working to increase the use of solar energy to minimize its reliance on oil for energy production.

In the literature, specific case studies in KSA have been examined. The current study takes into account daily global and diffuse solar radiation evaluated on a horizontal surface. The ideal angle for each month permits the Madinah site in KSA to capture the most solar energy.

The scientists came to the conclusion that the annual ideal tilt angle is nearly equal to the latitude of the location. By optimizing the building envelope elements, it is possible to expand the solar energy performance of residential structures in KSA. Wall insulation, window area, roof insulation, window shading, window glazing, and thermal mass are all considered in the energy cost and energy-saving study.

Figure 1 demonstrates the expected progress towards raising the energy generated by renewable energy resources. According to KSA's vision, the targeted capacity by 2030 will be 58.7 GW.

The vision of renewable energy in KSA for 2030

Figure 1. The vision of renewable energy in KSA for 2030. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

The most essential angles that play a role in PV system design are depicted in Figure 2. Figure 3 shows the link between the PV system’s elevation angle and row spacing.

The main angles in PV system design

Figure 2. The main angles in PV system design. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Relationship between elevation angle and spacing between rows

Figure 3. Relationship between elevation angle and spacing between rows. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

The purpose of this research article is to fill the gap by giving a full solar analysis to evaluate the viability of installing a 330 KW on-grid PV system in KSA, specifically in Jeddah, and to introduce the right building method. The goal of the design is to determine the best manner to deploy solar panels on the roofs of Ministry buildings.


The purpose of constructing this project is to lower the electricity bill by exploiting the blank spaces on building roofs and determining the best solar panel placement. The energy consumption of the building is shown in Table 1 on a monthly and annual basis.

Table 1. Monthly and annual energy consumption of the building. Source: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Month Energy Consumption (kWh)
January 952,500
February 949,100
March 942,000
April 937,500
May 932,500
June 930,100
July 928,100
August 938,100
September 939,300
October 941,800
November 942,500
December 948,500
Annual energy (MWh) 11,282


Due to the proposed tilt degree, the first scenario necessitated the installation of PV panels on three roofs. However, it was suggested that the tilt angle be increased to 21° to capture as much solar energy as feasible. Figure 4 shows the distribution.

Distribution of the panels in the first scenario

Figure 4. Distribution of the panels in the first scenario. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Figure 5 depicts the PV panel distribution on the horizontal surface in the second scenario, where the tilt angle is 15°.

Distribution of the panels in the second scenario.

Figure 5. Distribution of the panels in the second scenario. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Figure 6 depicts the researchers’ proposed configuration, which can be utilized to cover the roofs of structures with limited space. For all circumstances, Figure 7 depicts the link between elevation angle and row spacing. The space between rows is considerably improved as the tilt angle is raised. As a result, the first scenario has the most row spacing.

The configuration of the third scenario.

Figure 6. The configuration of the third scenario. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Relationship between elevation angle and spacing between rows: (a) Scenario 1, (b) Scenario 2, (c) Scenario 3.

Relationship between elevation angle and spacing between rows: (a) Scenario 1, (b) Scenario 2, (c) Scenario 3.

Relationship between elevation angle and spacing between rows: (a) Scenario 1, (b) Scenario 2, (c) Scenario 3.

Figure 7. Relationship between elevation angle and spacing between rows: (a) Scenario 1, (b) Scenario 2, (c) Scenario 3. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Figure 8 shows a comparison of energy production across all scenarios. It’s worth noting that the first scenario produces the most energy, followed by the second and third scenarios. Figure 8 also shows the connecting diagram between the panels and the inverters.

Energy production for all scenarios on a monthly basis.

Figure 8. Energy production for all scenarios on a monthly basis. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Table 2 shows the tilt and elevation angles that were chosen, as well as the distances between the PV panels and the total roof area for each scenario. Solar irradiation in kWh/m2 at various inclination degrees is shown in Table 3.

Table 2. Selected angles, distances, and the total roof areas for all scenarios. Source: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

  Angles and Distances
Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
Tilt angle 22° 15° 22° (First String)/15° (Others)
Elevation angle 27° 19.2° 19.2°
Height difference (m) 1.3 1.04 1.3 (First String)/1.04 (Others)
Model row spacing (m) 1.73 1.42 1.42
Total roof area (m2) 2267.8 1893.77 1893.77


Table 3. Solar irradiance in (kWh/m2) at different inclination angles. Source: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Month Inclination Angle (degree) Solar irradiance (kWh/m2)
January 60 164
February 60 147
March 30 189
April 30 205
May 10 241
June 10 254
July 10 262
August 10 245
September 30 229
October 30 215
November 60 183
December 60 156
Total energy   2490


Figure 9 represents the way of using strings to link the PV models to the inverters. Table 4 also contains more information on the required system parameters and quantities.

Connection diagram between the panels and the inverters

Figure 9. Connection diagram between the panels and the inverters. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Table 4. Equipment sizing details. Source: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Case Type or Quantity
PV pannel surface 2118 m2
Dimensions of module 2000 mm × 991 mm × 40 mm
Brand of PV modules JASOLAR
Model number JAM72S03-380/PR
Rated maximum power of PV module (W) 380
Type of cell Mono
Number of PV modules 790
Brand of inverters Chint
Model number CPS SCA50KTL-DO/400
Rated AC output power (kW) 50
Number of inverters 6
Installation type Rooftop


Figure 10 shows a single-line diagram (SLD) for the distribution system of low and medium voltages. This proposal was structured according to the Ministry of Electricity grid integration requirements.

Single-line diagram of the entire system

Figure 10. Single-line diagram of the entire system. Image Credit: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Results and Discussion

Table 5 shows the expected energy for the studied location during the course of the year, based on three possible scenarios. Table 6 shows the estimated average energy consumption on a monthly basis.

Table 5. Monthly and annual estimated energy production of all scenarios in kWh. Source: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

Month 22° Tilt
15° Tilt
Configuration Proposed
by the Author
January 42,863.72 40,586.62 41,346.98
February 43,120.12 42,701.92 41,905.32
March 51,605.42 50,982.12 51,189.88
April 48,698.62 49,404.42 49,169.15
May 48,710.22 50,453.52 49,872.42
June 46,055.82 48,218.22 47,497.42
July 47,434.52 49,388.12 48,736.92
August 47,504.22 49,234.62 48,657.95
September 47,435.52 47,469.221 47,458.12
October 49,030.32 47,195.12 47,806.98
November 44,819.02 41,655.71 42,710.34
December 43,419.12 39,732.51 40,961.58
Annual energy production 560,696.64 557,025.33 557,313.06


Table 6. Comparison between estimated and measured energy output of the PV system in kWh, with percentage error calculations. Source: Al-Quraan, et al., 2022

  Estimated at 15° Tilt Measured Percentage Error %
August 49,234.62 47,909.40 2.69
September 47,469.221 44,873.24 5.46
October 47,195.12 40,545.59 14.10
November 41,655.71 33,842.27 18.75
December 39,732.51 34,447.50 13.30
January 2020 40,586.62 35,971.36 11.37



This research proposed a new PV design for limited-area applications that can be installed on the roofs of buildings. The recommended arrangement is based on determining the best tilt angle for the PV system’s first string, which generates the most energy. In this setup, the other strings of the PV system can be chosen to eliminate shade on the limited-area roofs.

This concept, however, should only be used if the roof’s area is unrestricted. The proposed design produces more energy than the second scenario, which was used to meet the limited roof surface.

The proposed design can be employed on a regular basis on building rooftops where the roof space is limited to produce more energy. Furthermore, this setup can be used with small-capacity PV systems.

Journal Reference:

Al-Quraan, A., Al-Mahmodi, M., Al-Asemi, T., Bafleh, A., Bdour, M., Muhsen, H., Malkawi, A. (2022) A New Configuration of Roof Photovoltaic System for Limited Area Applications—A Case Study in KSA. Buildings, 12(2), p. 92. Available Online: https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12020092

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