An architectural visualization of a single family house with solar panels on the roof.Enhancing Architectural Visualizations with Solar Panels: Bringing Sustainability to Virtual Designs

Environmentally friendly sources of electricity have been promoted by many countries for several years. This is one of the few chances to save our Earth from global warming. Green energy is growing into all areas of our lives to prove in practice how much better it is than classic fuel energy sources.

We will focus on the construction industry in this article. According to statistics, the average annual investment in energy-efficient buildings worldwide should exceed half a trillion US dollars between 2026 and 2030. And this is our reality, as a way to solve many problems of mankind.

We'll discuss energy-efficient building designs, sustainable architecture, and how virtual reality can be used in the construction industry.

Sustainable Architecture: What Is It?

Sustainable architecture also known as sustainable building or sustainable architecture, is a method of implementing projects and constructing buildings. Its main idea is to minimize the negative impact on the environment. To do this, it pursues the use of renewable energy sources. As a result, the quality of people’s life is improved, long-term sustainability is created and energy efficiency is increased. One of the most popular technologies actively used in sustainable architecture is solar energy.

VR and Sustainable Architecture

Using VR, you can create 3D models of buildings at the design stage. That is, the client can see absolutely all the nuances of future construction. As a result, he will have a ready-made house in front of him with everything he wanted to place. Yes, you can’t feel it or go into it, but you can understand how everything works. And think about whether it really should be that way. In order not to get a pig in a poke, the customer will have a detailed visualization of the model. He will be able to make edits, adjust the details and get what he wants.

But when it comes to sustainable architecture, the main link is the correct integration of solar panels into the visualization of the project. How exactly can VR help with this?

How Virtual Reality Can Be Used in the Construction Industry?

Solar panels represent one of the most popular renewable energy solutions. They are becoming the standard for sustainable architecture. Integrating virtual reality into energy-efficient architecture projects significantly improves architectural visualization. It also ensures the stability of virtual projects and allows you to get the most optimal result. This is achieved through the following aspects:

Integration of solar panels into projects

When creating virtual models of buildings and structures, solar panels become an integral part of architectural design. It's important to try placing them on rooftops, facades, or other suitable surfaces during the rendering phase. This will help to understand how they will integrate into the surrounding architecture and the appearance of the building.

Calculation of energy efficiency

It is worth using software to calculate the energy efficiency of solar panels and visualize the data obtained. This will help to assess the actual production of solar energy and understand what impact it has on the energy sustainability of the project.

Optimization of panel placement

With the help of optimization algorithms at the stage of visualization and modeling, it is possible to determine the optimal placement of solar panels on the building. This will help maximize solar power in real life. Visualization of the placement will also take into account factors such as shade from neighboring buildings or natural barriers.

Visualization of energy independence

Using data on the energy produced by solar energy and the one consumed by the building, it is possible to visualize the degree of its energy independence. This will allow a more detailed assessment of the environmental and economic benefits of solar panels in the project.

Simulation of lighting dynamics

Using data on the location and angles of solar panels, it is possible to model the dynamics of lighting in and around the building. This will allow you to visualize how light will penetrate inside the premises, as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of using natural lighting.

Virtual reality in the construction industry has found other applications. For example, it creates excellent visualization of objects in 3D. This shows a detailed picture, which greatly increases the awareness of customers about the future project.

But how to build 3d solar panels to calculate everything correctly? Let's figure it out.

How To Build 3D Solar Panels

For making 3d solar system projects, several steps must be taken.

Step #1. Choose a Tool

Start by choosing 3D modeling software. Use specialized software to create 3D models. Popular programs are AutoCAD, SketchUp, SolidWorks, Fusion 360, etc. And if you want to work with virtual reality, try Unity, Unreal Engine, Blender, and AutoCAD. All of them are ideal for designing solar panels on the roof of the house and other surfaces. With their help, you can calculate energy efficiency and other nuances of the system. Most importantly, familiarize yourself with the tools and features of your chosen software. And then choose the one that suits you best.

Step #2. Create the Basis for Solar Panels

It can be a flat panel or a frame on which solar modules will be placed. Consider the dimensions and shape of the panels according to your project. It is better to think about this in advance. If you are not aware of the difference between various shapes and types of panels, read about it or watch the video. Any error will not lead to the desired result.

Step #3. Add Solar Modules to the Base

Use geometric shapes to create solar panel models. Be sure to consider their size and orientation. Also, think about how much tilt and angle of rotation should be to get optimal sunlight. Reflect all these nuances on the 3D model.

Step #4. Install Fittings and Fasteners

Add metal brackets, screws, or other elements that secure the solar panels to the base.

Step #5. Integrate Additional Elements

Place additional items such as wires and inverters. This will show the electrical connection and the conversion of solar energy into electricity.

Step #6. Set Up and Check

Adjust the position and orientation of the panels for optimal solar energy requirements. Take into account all the factors that can influence us to achieve the greatest efficiency in collecting solar energy. For example, geographic location, tilt, and direction of the sun.

Check and adjust the model and make sure all components are connected and positioned correctly. Conduct a visual and geometric analysis of the model to ensure it meets the requirements of your project.

Step #7. Save the Project Correctly

Finally, save the model in 3D format. For example, in .stl or .obj. This will allow you to share it with others or use it for further purposes such as creating visualizations or prototyping.

When working with Unity, Unreal Engine, Blender, and AutoCAD, you can also integrate the following nuances into the visualization:

  1. Add textures and details to the solar panel model to make it look realistic. This may include color, light reflections, shadows, and other visual effects.
  2. Use a VR device such as a VR helmet to explore your solar panel model in virtual reality. You will be able to move around the model, examine it in detail and evaluate its appearance and functionality.
  3. Use virtual test tools to evaluate the performance and efficiency of solar systems under various conditions. You can simulate lighting, tilt, and other factors to get an idea of how the panels work.

Be sure to correct any flaws so that the model is perfect for you. If you are not sure that you can handle it, contact ‘solar companies near me’. They will help you create the perfect 3D project or just check your work.


VR technologies have found wide use in construction. And with the growing popularity of sustainable architecture, both virtual reality and solar power are giving customers what they want. So, a person who wants to create a project with an energy-efficient building can implement its 3D visualization. This will create a detailed look at the future home, in which solar panels will be effectively implemented. The technologies of the future are available today, and we have a great chance to use them to the fullest.