Researchers assess potential of electricity generation of rooftop solar photovoltaics

Industry Insights

In its first-ever kind, a team of researchers at the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine, University College Cork in collaboration with other researchers have provided the detailed assessment of the potential of electricity generation using rooftop solar photovoltaic technology.

The findings of the study is available in Nature Communications.

Meanwhile, due to improved deployment abilities and declined costs, rooftop solar photovoltaic technology such as roof mounted solar panels is currently most used in domestic, commercial, and residential buildings. The technology is the fastest deployable one electricity generation technology and is projected to supply 25-49% of global electricity needs by 2050.

In fact, despite these projections, the assessment of the electricity generation potential of the technology and its associated costs remains a challenge.

Elaborating on the technology, the authors found that a potential of 27 petawatt/hr each year is attainable at a cost of US$ 40- 280 megawatt/hr with Asia, Europe, and North America displaying the greatest potential for electricity generation.

Furthermore, the study indicates the least cost for attaining the potential energy numbers using the technology in in India and China, and the U.S. and the UK are among the expensive ones.

The electricity generation potential of rooftop solar panels surpassed the aggregated yearly energy consumption in 2018. However, the future potential of the technology will depend on its development and associated cost of storage solutions for the energy generated.

For the first time, the spatial and temporal characteristics of rooftop photovoltaics with improved precision using a combination of machine learning, big data, and GIS have been accomplished. The study can help in improved display of rooftop solar photovoltaics in energy systems, stated the lead researcher.

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