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Fri Aug 3, 2012, 06:48 AM

(National Renewable Energy Lab) US: 200,000 GW of solar could be installed; 400,000 TWh/a

Last edited Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:02 AM - Edit history (2)

US: 200,000 GW of solar could be installed; 400,000 TWh/a
27 JULY 2012

According to a new study released by NREL, the technical potential of photovoltaics and concentrating solar power (CSP) in the U.S. amounts to just under 200,000 GW, which could generate around 399,700 TWh of energy annually.

The U.S.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a new report – U.S. renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis – in which it says, technically, 154,864 of photovoltaics and 38,000 GW of CSP could be installed. This would mean, photovoltaics could generate around 483,600 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy annually, and CSP, 116,100. Refer to the table for a breakdown of the different solar technologies.

Overall, it believes rural utility-scale photovoltaics has more potential than any other renewable energy technology, due to the "relatively high power density, the absence of minimum resource threshold, and the availability of large swaths for development." Meanwhile, Texas is said to have the ability to account for around 14 percent of this 153 GW, or 280,600 TWh annual potential.

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/us--200-000-gw-of-solar-could-be-installed-4-000-twh-a_100007894/#ixzz22Tie011i

Executive Summary
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) routinely estimates the technical potential of specific renewable electricity generation technologies. These are technology- specific estimates of energy generation potential based on renewable resource availability and quality, technical system performance, topographic limitations, environmental, and land-use constraints only. The estimates do not consider (in most cases) economic or market constraints, and therefore do not represent a level of renewable generation that might actually be deployed.

This report is unique in unifying assumptions and application of methods employed to generate comparable estimates across technologies, where possible, to allow cross- technology comparison. Technical potential estimates for six different renewable energy technologies were calculated by NREL, and methods and results for several other renewable technologies from previously published reports are also presented. Table ES-1 summarizes the U.S. technical potential, in generation and capacity terms, of the technologies examined.

The report first describes the methodology and assumptions for estimating the technical potential of each technology, and then briefly describes the resulting estimates. The results discussion includes state-level maps and tables containing available land area (square kilometers), installed capacity (gigawatts), and electric generation (gigawatt- hours) for each technology.



Renewable energy technical potential, as defined in this study, represents the achievable energy generation of a particular technology given system performance, topographic limitations, environmental, and land-use constraints. The primary benefit of assessing technical potential is that it establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential (DOE EERE 2006). It is important to understand that there are multiple types of potential—resource, technical, economic, and market—each seen in Figure 1 with its key assumptions.

Download full report: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/51946.pdf

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Reply (National Renewable Energy Lab) US: 200,000 GW of solar could be installed; 400,000 TWh/a (Original post)
kristopher Aug 2012 OP
kristopher Aug 2012 #1

Response to kristopher (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 08:00 AM

1. To put that in perspective

Total end use energy consumption in the US for 2010 was just over 28,000 TWh.

I just got an email from Online Poker pointing out that PV Magazine's headline (which was used as the headline of the OP) is wrong. The number is closer to 400,000 TWh; 4,000 isn't even close.

Thanks - now corrected.

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