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Modeling and Analysis Session: Market, Value, and Policy Analysis (Presentation)

Description: The Primary objectives: to provide a broad range of analytical support to the Solar Program; and to anticipate and respond to the rapidly evolving analytical needs of the Solar Program. Three broad types of analysis are being carried out under this project including: (1) Market analysis: Developing a PV market penetration model--the SolarDS model--and other tools, in order to gain insight into the factors influencing market penetration of PV technology in U.S. markets. (2) Value analysis: Providing inputs to, support for, and review of the annual GPRA benefits analysis. Also developing methods and tools for improving the quantification of the benefits and cost of solar technologies. (3) Policy analysis: Defining and carrying out analysis that meets the needs of the Solar Energy Technologies Program in a timely fashion, for example evaluating the potential role of solar in the energy economy in the long-term.
Date: April 1, 2008
Creator: Margolis, R. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Solar Technology and Policy Analysis to Support the Systems-Driven Approach

Description: The primary focus of the Systems-Driven Approach (SDA) analysis team is to improve the analytical basis for understanding the system and policy drivers of solar technologies in various markets. Analysis activities during the past year have focused in three inter-related areas: (1) developing long-term market penetration projections for the full set of technologies funded within the Solar Energy Technologies Program, (2) reviewing the Program's out-year cost and performance targets for photovoltaic (PV) technology, and (3) evaluating policies, as well as other factors, that impact the value of solar energy technologies in various markets. This paper will summarize the results of these activities and describe how they relate to the overall SDA effort.
Date: January 1, 2005
Creator: Margolis, R. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Impacts of Array Configuration on Land-Use Requirements for Large-Scale Photovoltaic Deployment in the United States: Preprint

Description: Land use is often cited as an important issue for renewable energy technologies. In this paper we examine the relationship between land-use requirements for large-scale photovoltaic (PV) deployment in the U.S. and PV-array configuration. We estimate the per capita land requirements for solar PV and find that array configuration is a stronger driver of energy density than regional variations in solar insolation. When deployed horizontally, the PV land area needed to meet 100% of an average U.S. citizen's electricity demand is about 100 m2. This requirement roughly doubles to about 200 m2 when using 1-axis tracking arrays. By comparing these total land-use requirements with other current per capita land uses, we find that land-use requirements of solar photovoltaics are modest, especially when considering the availability of zero impact 'land' on rooftops. Additional work is need to examine the tradeoffs between array spacing, self-shading losses, and land use, along with possible techniques to mitigate land-use impacts of large-scale PV deployment.
Date: May 1, 2008
Creator: Denholm, P. & Margolis, R. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Very Large-Scale Deployment of Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaics in the United States: Challenges and Opportunities; Preprint

Description: This paper analyzes the potential for solar photovoltaics (PV) to be deployed on a very large scale and provide a large fraction of a system's electricity. It explicitly examines how the hourly availability of PV interacts with the limited flexibility of traditional electricity generation plants. The authors found that, under high penetration levels and existing grid-operation procedures and rules, the system will have excess PV generation during certain periods of the year. This excess PV generation results in increased costs, which can increase dramatically when PV provides on the order of 10%-15% of total electricity demand in systems that are heavily dependent on inflexible baseload steam plants. Measures to increase penetration of PV are also discussed, including increased system flexibility, increased dispatchable load, and energy storage.
Date: April 1, 2006
Creator: Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Regional Per Capita Solar Electric Footprint for the United States

Description: In this report, we quantify the state-by-state per-capita 'solar electric footprint' for the United States. We use state-level data on population, electricity consumption, economic activity and solar insolation, along with solar photovoltaic (PV) array packing density data to develop a range of estimates of the solar electric footprint. We find that the solar electric footprint, defined as the land area required to supply all end-use electricity from solar photovoltaics, is about 181 m2 per person in the United States. Two key factors that influence the magnitude of the state-level solar electric footprint include how industrial energy is allocated (based on location of use vs. where goods are consumed) and the assumed distribution of PV configurations (flat rooftop vs. fixed tilt vs. tracking). The solar electric footprint is about 0.6% of the total land area of the United States with state-level estimates ranging from less than 0.1% for Wyoming to about 9% for New Jersey. We also compare the solar electric footprint to a number of other land uses. For example, we find that the solar electric footprint is equal to less than 2% of the land dedicated to cropland and grazing in the United States.
Date: December 1, 2007
Creator: Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Lessons Learned from the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology/PV Manufacturing R&D and Thin Film PV Partnership Projects

Description: As the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Solar Energy Technologies Program initiates new cost-shared solar energy R&D under the Solar America Initiative (SAI), it is useful to analyze the experience gained from cost-shared R&D projects that have been funded through the program to date. This report summarizes lessons learned from two DOE-sponsored photovoltaic (PV) projects: the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology/PV Manufacturing R&D (PVMaT/PVMR&D) project and the Thin-Film PV Partnership project. During the past 10-15 years, these two projects have invested roughly $330 million of government resources in cost-shared R&D and leveraged another $190 million in private-sector PV R&D investments. Following a description of key findings and brief descriptions of the PVMaT/PVMR&D and Thin-Film PV Partnership projects, this report presents lessons learned from the projects.
Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Margolis, R.; Mitchell, R. & Zweibel, K.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Nontechnical Barriers to Solar Energy Use: Review of Recent Literature

Description: This paper reviews the nontechnical barriers to solar energy use, drawing on recent literature to help identify key barriers that must be addressed as part of the Technology Acceptance efforts under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar America Initiative. A broad literature search yielded more than 400 references, which were narrowed to 19 recent documents on nontechnical barriers to the use of solar energy and other energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) technologies. Some of the most frequently identified barriers included lack of government policy supporting EE/RE, lack of information dissemination and consumer awareness about energy and EE/RE, high cost of solar and other EE/RE technologies compared with conventional energy, and inadequate financing options for EE/RE projects.
Date: September 1, 2006
Creator: Margolis, R. & Zuboy, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Supply Curves for Solar PV-Generated Electricity for the United States

Description: Energy supply curves attempt to estimate the relationship between the cost of an energy resource and the amount of energy available at or below that cost. In general, an energy supply curve is a series of step functions with each step representing a particular group or category of energy resource. The length of the step indicates how much of that resource is deployable or accessible at a given cost. Energy supply curves have been generated for a number of renewable energy sources including biomass fuels and geothermal, as well as conservation technologies. Generating a supply curve for solar photovoltaics (PV) has particular challenges due to the nature of the resource. The United States has a massive solar resource base -- many orders of magnitude greater than the total consumption of energy. In this report, we examine several possible methods for generating PV supply curves based exclusively on rooftop deployment.
Date: November 1, 2008
Creator: Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Production Cost Modeling for High Levels of Photovoltaics Penetration

Description: The goal of this report is to evaluate the likely avoided generation, fuels, and emissions resulting from photovoltaics (PV) deployment in several U.S. locations and identify new tools, methods, and analysis to improve understanding of PV impacts at the grid level.
Date: February 1, 2008
Creator: Denholm, P.; Margolis, R. & Milford, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) Model: Documentation and Sample Results

Description: The Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) model is a bottom-up, market penetration model that simulates the potential adoption of photovoltaics (PV) on residential and commercial rooftops in the continental United States through 2030. NREL developed SolarDS to examine the market competitiveness of PV based on regional solar resources, capital costs, electricity prices, utility rate structures, and federal and local incentives. The model uses the projected financial performance of PV systems to simulate PV adoption for building types and regions then aggregates adoption to state and national levels. The main components of SolarDS include a PV performance simulator, a PV annual revenue calculator, a PV financial performance calculator, a PV market share calculator, and a regional aggregator. The model simulates a variety of installed PV capacity for a range of user-specified input parameters. PV market penetration levels from 15 to 193 GW by 2030 were simulated in preliminary model runs. SolarDS results are primarily driven by three model assumptions: (1) future PV cost reductions, (2) the maximum PV market share assumed for systems with given financial performance, and (3) PV financing parameters and policy-driven assumptions, such as the possible future cost of carbon emissions.
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Denholm, P.; Drury, E. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Consortia Focused on Photovoltaic R&D, Manufacturing, and Testing: A Review of Existing Models and Structures

Description: As the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Solar Energy Technologies Program prepares to initiate a new cost-shared research and development (R&D) effort on photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing, it is useful to review the experience to date with consortia focused on PV R&D, manufacturing, and testing. Information was gathered for this report by conducting interviews and accessing Web sites of 14 U.S. consortia and four European consortia, each with either a primary focus on or an emerging interest in PV technology R&D, manufacturing, or testing. Additional input was collected from several workshops held by the DOE and National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 2009, which examined the practical steps -- including public-private partnerships and policy support -- necessary to enhance the United States' capacity to competitively manufacture photovoltaics. This report categorizes the 18 consortia into three groups: university-led consortia, industry-led consortia, and manufacturing and testing facilities consortia. The first section summarizes the organizations within the different categories, with a particular focus on the key benefits and challenges for each grouping. The second section provides a more detailed overview of each consortium, including the origins, goals, organization, membership, funding sources, and key contacts. This survey is a useful resource for stakeholders interested in PV manufacturing R&D, but should not imply endorsement of any of these groups.
Date: March 1, 2010
Creator: Coggeshall, C. & Margolis, R. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Modeling the U.S. Rooftop Photovoltaics Market

Description: Global rooftop PV markets are growing rapidly, fueled by a combination of declining PV prices and several policy-based incentives. The future growth, and size, of the rooftop market is highly dependent on continued PV cost reductions, financing options, net metering policy, carbon prices and future incentives. Several PV market penetration models, sharing a similar structure and methodology, have been developed over the last decade to quantify the impacts of these factors on market growth. This study uses a geospatially rich, bottom-up, PV market penetration model--the Solar Deployment Systems (SolarDS) model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory--to explore key market and policy-based drivers for residential and commercial rooftop PV markets. The identified drivers include a range of options from traditional incentives, to attractive customer financing options, to net metering and carbon policy.
Date: September 1, 2010
Creator: Drury, E.; Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) in the Residential Sector: An Analysis of Installed Rooftop System Prices

Description: For more than 30 years, there have been strong efforts to accelerate the deployment of solar-electric systems by developing photovoltaic (PV) products that are fully integrated with building materials. This report examines the status of building-integrated PV (BIPV), with a focus on the cost drivers of residential rooftop systems, and explores key opportunities and challenges in the marketplace.
Date: November 1, 2011
Creator: James, T.; Goodrich, A.; Woodhouse, M.; Margolis, R. & Ong, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Impact of Different Economic Performance Metrics on the Perceived Value of Solar Photovoltaics

Description: Photovoltaic (PV) systems are installed by several types of market participants, ranging from residential customers to large-scale project developers and utilities. Each type of market participant frequently uses a different economic performance metric to characterize PV value because they are looking for different types of returns from a PV investment. This report finds that different economic performance metrics frequently show different price thresholds for when a PV investment becomes profitable or attractive. Several project parameters, such as financing terms, can have a significant impact on some metrics [e.g., internal rate of return (IRR), net present value (NPV), and benefit-to-cost (B/C) ratio] while having a minimal impact on other metrics (e.g., simple payback time). As such, the choice of economic performance metric by different customer types can significantly shape each customer's perception of PV investment value and ultimately their adoption decision.
Date: October 1, 2011
Creator: Drury, E.; Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sensitivity of Utility-Scale Solar Deployment Projections in the SunShot Vision Study to Market and Performance Assumptions

Description: The SunShot Vision Study explored the potential growth of solar markets if solar prices decreased by about 75% from 2010 to 2020. The ReEDS model was used to simulate utility PV and CSP deployment for this present study, based on several market and performance assumptions - electricity demand, natural gas prices, coal retirements, cost and performance of non-solar renewable technologies, PV resource variability, distributed PV deployment, and solar market supply growth - in addition to the SunShot solar price projections. This study finds that utility-scale solar deployment is highly sensitive to solar prices. Other factors can have significant impacts, particularly electricity demand and natural gas prices.
Date: April 1, 2013
Creator: Eurek, K.; Denholm, P.; Margolis, R. & Mowers, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Breakeven Prices for Photovoltaics on Supermarkets in the United States

Description: The photovoltaic (PV) breakeven price is the PV system price at which the cost of PV-generated electricity equals the cost of electricity purchased from the grid. This point is also called 'grid parity' and can be expressed as dollars per watt ($/W) of installed PV system capacity. Achieving the PV breakeven price depends on many factors, including the solar resource, local electricity prices, customer load profile, PV incentives, and financing. In the United States, where these factors vary substantially across regions, breakeven prices vary substantially across regions as well. In this study, we estimate current and future breakeven prices for PV systems installed on supermarkets in the United States. We also evaluate key drivers of current and future commercial PV breakeven prices by region. The results suggest that breakeven prices for PV systems installed on supermarkets vary significantly across the United States. Non-technical factors -- including electricity rates, rate structures, incentives, and the availability of system financing -- drive break-even prices more than technical factors like solar resource or system orientation. In 2020 (where we assume higher electricity prices and lower PV incentives), under base-case assumptions, we estimate that about 17% of supermarkets will be in utility territories where breakeven conditions exist at a PV system price of $3/W; this increases to 79% at $1.25/W (the DOE SunShot Initiative's commercial PV price target for 2020). These percentages increase to 26% and 91%, respectively, when rate structures favorable to PV are used.
Date: March 1, 2013
Creator: Ong, S.; Clark, N.; Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Update: Effective Load-Carrying Capability of Photovoltaics in the United States; Preprint

Description: This paper provides an update on the U.S. distribution of effective load-carrying capability (ELLC) for photovoltaics by analyzing recent load data from 39 U.S. utilities and time-coincident output of PV installations simulated from high-resolution, time/site-specific satellite data. Results show that overall regional trends identified in the early 1990s remain pertinent today, while noting a significant increase in PV ELCC in the western and northern United States, and a modest decrease in the central and eastern United States.
Date: June 1, 2006
Creator: Perez, R.; Margolis, R.; Kmiecik, M.; Schwab, M. & Perez, M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Estimating Rooftop Suitability for PV: A Review of Methods, Patents, and Validation Techniques

Description: A number of methods have been developed using remote sensing data to estimate rooftop area suitable for the installation of photovoltaics (PV) at various geospatial resolutions. This report reviews the literature and patents on methods for estimating rooftop-area appropriate for PV, including constant-value methods, manual selection methods, and GIS-based methods. This report also presents NREL's proposed method for estimating suitable rooftop area for PV using Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data in conjunction with a GIS model to predict areas with appropriate slope, orientation, and sunlight. NREL's method is validated against solar installation data from New Jersey, Colorado, and California to compare modeled results to actual on-the-ground measurements.
Date: December 1, 2013
Creator: Melius, J.; Margolis, R. & Ong, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Utility-Interconnected Photovoltaic Systems: Evaluating the Rationale for the Utility-Accessible External Disconnect Switch

Description: The utility-accessible alternating current (AC) external disconnect switch (EDS) for distributed generators, including photovoltaic (PV) systems, is a hardware feature that allows a utility?s employees to manually disconnect a customer-owned generator from the electricity grid. This paper examines the utility-accessible EDS debate in the context of utility-interactive PV systems for residential and small commercial installations. It also evaluates the rationale for EDS requirements.
Date: January 1, 2008
Creator: Coddington, M.; Margolis, R.M. & Aabakken, J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Break-Even Cost for Residential Photovoltaics in the United States: Key Drivers and Sensitivities

Description: Grid parity--or break-even cost--for photovoltaic (PV) technology is defined as the point where the cost of PV-generated electricity equals the cost of electricity purchased from the grid. Break-even cost is expressed in $/W of an installed system. Achieving break-even cost is a function of many variables. Consequently, break-even costs vary by location and time for a country, such as the United States, with a diverse set of resources, electricity prices, and other variables. In this report, we analyze PV break-even costs for U.S. residential customers. We evaluate some key drivers of grid parity both regionally and over time. We also examine the impact of moving from flat to time-of-use (TOU) rates, and we evaluate individual components of the break-even cost, including effect of rate structure and various incentives. Finally, we examine how PV markets might evolve on a regional basis considering the sensitivity of the break-even cost to four major drivers: technical performance, financing parameters, electricity prices and rates, and policies. We find that local incentives rather than ?technical? parameters are in general the key drivers of the break-even cost of PV. Additionally, this analysis provides insight about the potential viability of PV markets.
Date: December 1, 2009
Creator: Denholm, P.; Margolis, R. M.; Ong, S. & Roberts, B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Sensitivity of Rooftop PV Projections in the SunShot Vision Study to Market Assumptions

Description: The SunShot Vision Study explored the potential growth of solar markets if solar prices decreased by about 75% from 2010 to 2020. The SolarDS model was used to simulate rooftop PV demand for this study, based on several PV market assumptions--future electricity rates, customer access to financing, and others--in addition to the SunShot PV price projections. This paper finds that modeled PV demand is highly sensitive to several non-price market assumptions, particularly PV financing parameters.
Date: January 1, 2013
Creator: Drury, E.; Denholm, P. & Margolis, R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Historical Analysis of Investment in Solar Energy Technologies (2000-2007)

Description: The solar energy industry experienced unprecedented growth in the eight years from 2000 to 2007, with explosive growth occurring in the latter half of this period. From 2004 to 2007, global private sector investment in solar energy increased by almost twenty-fold, marking a dramatic increase in the short span of four years. This paper examines the timing, magnitude, focus and location of various forms of investment in the solar energy sector. It analyzes their trends to provide an understanding of the growth of the solar industry during the past eight years and to identify emerging themes in this rapidly evolving industry.
Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Jennings, C. E.; Margolis, R. M. & Bartlett, J. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Effects of the Financial Crisis on Photovoltaics: An Analysis of Changes in Market Forecasts from 2008 to 2009

Description: To examine how the financial crisis has impacted expectations of photovoltaic production, demand and pricing over the next several years, we surveyed the market forecasts of industry analysts that had issued projections in 2008 and 2009. We find that the financial crisis has had a significant impact on the PV industry, primarily through increasing the cost and reducing the availability of investment into the sector. These effects have been more immediately experienced by PV installations than by production facilities, due to the different types and duration of investments, and thus PV demand has been reduced by a greater proportion than PV production. By reducing demand more than production, the financial crisis has accelerated previously expected PV overcapacity and resulting price declines.
Date: September 1, 2009
Creator: Bartlett, J. E.; Margolis, R. M. & Jennings, C. E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department