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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

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

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