Planning for solar access in Sweden: routines, metrics, and tools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sweden has set ambitious goals concerning future sustainable cities. Solar energy plays a vital role in this transformation, since it directly relates to our health and well-being, on-site renewable energy production, economic activity, and social interaction. Therefore, prioritizing solar access already in the urban design phase is important to create equal possibilities for everyone living and working in cities and communities. There is little known about how solar access is prioritized and assessed in the current urban planning process in Sweden. Therefore, two workshops were conducted with urban planners working at Swedish municipalities to establish a baseline, gaps and needs. The results identified three themes: (1) the role of solar access in the urban planning process, (2) suitable solar access metrics and threshold values, and (3) tools. A proper definition of solar access is missing, and only daylight indoors is regulated in the later stage. Therefore, the urban planners rank solar access as following: (1) daylight indoors, (2) day- and sunlight outdoors, and (3) active solar energy production. The participating municipalities had different routines concerning daylight but there were no established routines for solar access for outdoor spaces or active solar energy production. There was a need for better access to tools that can (1) provide quick feedback to iterate several design alternatives, (2) flag for ‘critical points’ in the zoning plan for solar access, (3) take other parameters into account, e.g. microclimate, and (4) visualize the performance of neighbourhoods for solar energy to other actors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-368
Number of pages20
JournalUrban, Planning and Transport Research: An Open Access Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 23

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Architectural Engineering
  • Other Engineering and Technologies


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