Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

40% from rooftop solar

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), a unit of the U.S. Department of Energy, now estimates that up to 40% of total energy needs could be satisfied by only placing solar panels on "suitable" rooftops. And that doesn't count the extra 10 panels you could have in your backyard, or the extra energy you could generate with a wind turbine or two.

Renewables are here to stay, and the costs continue to drop while efficiency continues to climb. It's no longer sensible to pull all that carbon fossil fuel (petroleum, natural gas), out of the ground, especially when the hemp plant can do most of the things petroleum can do for less financial and environmental cost. 

With Solar, U.S. Rooftops Could Provide Nearly Half Of Nation’s Power

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has almost doubled its previous estimate of the total U.S. technical potential for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and has found that U.S. building rooftops could generate close to 40% of national electricity sales.
NREL says its analysts have used detailed light detection and ranging data for 128 cities nationwide, along with improved data analysis methods and simulation tools, to update its estimate. The analysis appears in a new report that quantifies how much energy could be generated if PV systems were installed on all suitable roof areas in the continental U.S.
The analysis reveals a technical potential of 1,118 GW of capacity and 1,432 TWh of annual energy generation, equivalent to 39% of the nation’s electricity sales. That is significantly greater than that of a previous NREL analysis, which estimated 664 GW of installed capacity and 800 TWh of annual energy generation.
Analysts attribute the new findings to increases in module power density, improved estimation of building suitability, higher estimates of the total number of buildings, and improvements in PV performance simulation tools.
Within the 128 cities studied, the researchers found that 83% of small buildings have a suitable location for PV installation, but only 26% of those buildings’ total rooftop area is suitable for development. Because of the sheer number of this class of building across the country, however, small buildings actually provide the greatest combined technical potential. Altogether, NREL says small building rooftops could accommodate up to 731 GW of PV capacity and generate 926 TWh per year of PV energy – approximately 65% of the country’s total rooftop technical potential.
“It is important to note that this report only estimates the potential from existing, suitable rooftops, and does not consider the immense potential of ground-mounted PV,” adds Robert Margolis, NREL senior energy analyst and co-author of the report. “Actual generation from PV in urban areas could exceed these estimates by installing systems on less suitable roof space, by mounting PV on canopies over open spaces such as parking lots, or by integrating PV into building facades. Further, the results are sensitive to assumptions about module performance, which are expected to continue improving over time.”
NREL says its work was supported by funding from the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in support of its SunShot Initiative, a collaborative national effort to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade. Through SunShot, the department supports efforts by private companies, universities and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06/kWh.
The full report, titled “Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment,” is available here.

No comments: