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Rooftop solar photovoltaic potential in cities: how scalable are assessment approaches?


Distributed photovoltaics (PV) have played a critical role in the deployment of solar energy, currently making up roughly half of the global PV installed capacity. However, there remains significant unused economically beneficial potential. Estimates of the total technical potential for rooftop PV systems in the United States calculate a generation comparable to approximately 40% of the 2016 total national electric-sector sales. To best take advantage of the rooftop PV potential, effective analytic tools that support deployment strategies and aggressive local, state, and national policies to reduce the soft cost of solar energy are vital. A key step is the low-cost automation of data analysis and business case presentation for structure-integrated solar energy. In this paper, the scalability and resolution of various methods to assess the urban rooftop PV potential are compared, concluding with suggestions for future work in bridging methodologies to better assist policy makers.

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