New NREL study details US rooftop solar PV potential at 1,118 GW plus

By Mark Osborne, PV-Tech.Org

Photo Credit: PV-Tech

Photo Credit: PV-Tech

A new technical study that is more detailed and extensive than previously achieved, the US Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has significantly increased the potential for US building rooftops to generate electricity from solar PV (photovoltaics) systems.

The analysis within the report entitled “Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment,” used detailed light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data for 128 US cities across the country, along with improved data analysis methods and simulation tools, to update and make more accurate estimates of technical potential of PV on rooftops at the national, state, and zip code level. Read more.

Download the NREL Report.
The report states that the technical potential of 1,118GW of capacity and 1,432TWh of annual energy generation was possible, equivalent to 39% of current US electricity sales. This is almost double (664GW – 800 TWh) the previous analysis undertaken and reported in 2008.