If you are wondering about how much electricity demand could be provided by rooftop solar in the United States, you will be surprised to know the answer. According to a latest report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), rooftop solar power can provide power to the 75% of Homes in US. The report titled ‘Rooftop Solar Technical Potential for Low-to-Moderate income (LMI) households in the US’ mainly focused on the solar photovoltaic (PV) potential on US households along with LMI levels.
A combination of light detection and ranging (LiDAR)-based scans of buildings and statistical techniques have been utilized in the study, in order to assess rooftop solar PV potential. According to the study, among the 116.9 million residential buildings in the US, 67.2 million buildings were suitable for solar PV. About 75% of residential consumption count as the total generation potential.
The rooftop solar PV potential is actually a function of the building and roof orientation. The buildings are built to maximize the inward solar radiation in cold climates. States including Alaska and Montana were found to have a higher percentage of potential LMI rooftops than some places in Arizona.
The NREL study is said to have been inspired by a US Department of Energy (DOE). Solar Energy Technology Office announcement on the falling cost of solar energy resulting in 971 GW of solar capacity across the nation. By 2050, this could reportedly provide 33% of electrical generation in the country.
Among current LMI households, the study by NREL reiterated the technical viability of the 33%. The study, however, did not estimate the economic viability, it has been suggested that deployment of newer models should be used to achieve the economic viability.
The report also suggested that coordination issues in rental-occupied and multi-family buildings need to be addressed. Those, who earn 80% or less of the area median income, the levels are defined. The rooftop solar PV potential was adopted initially in the higher-income households and the declining costs of solar PV are said to attribute this expansion. Now, the solar power potential is expanding and transcending beyond the demographic of the higher-income households.
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