Rooftop Photovoltaic Could Provide 39% of U.S. Demand

03/28/2016 |

Buildings could generate over 1,400 TWh of electricity.

Rooftop solar panels

The estimated technical energy generation potential for rooftop photovoltaic systems has been updated to demonstrate that the technology could provide 39% of the electricity sold in the U.S. Researchers from NREL analyzed technical information from 128 American cities, finding a combined theoretical capacity of 1,118 GW that would provide 1,432 terawatt-hours (TWh) of generation.

The estimates are nearly double the numbers from a prior analysis by NREL, which found 664 GW of capacity and 800 TWh of generation. The researchers note that the update to the results is due to the use of better simulation tools, new technologies to increase module power density, and other improvements to the analysis process. The Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment report found that small buildings together have the most potential of any building class at 731 GW of capacity and 926 TWh of energy, which the researchers note is around 65% of the total for the U.S.

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