Rooftop solar generation meets 1.5% of US electricity demand in 2022

Small-scale solar generation grew rapidly from 2012 to 2022. Image: SunPower

Production of small-scale solar installations increased by ten times between 2012 and 2022, but the US has only tapped into a small fraction of the technical potential of rooftop solar, the major contributor towards small-scale solar installations.

According to the report ‘Rooftop solar on the rise’, compiled by the Frontier Group and the Environment America Research & Policy Center, small-scale solar generation grew rapidly from 5,959GWh in 2012 to 61,281GWh in 2022, driven by the rapid uptake of installations on homes.

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In 2022, residential solar systems generated 39,510GWh, or 64% of all electricity from small-scale solar installations in the US, while commercial produced a total of 17,724GWh. However, the increase in rooftop solar generation only covered 1.5% of all electricity used in the US.

The study also covered rooftop solar potential in the US. The authors said rooftop solar could generate electricity equivalent to about 45% of all national electricity sales at the 2022 level of demand. California boasted the highest annual rooftop solar generation potential of 236TWh per year, followed by Texas (160TWh), New York (126TWh) and Ohio (65TWh).

However, the actual power production only accounted for a small fraction of the rooftop solar potential in all states. California’s annual rooftop solar generation in 2022 only reached 10.2% of the rooftop power generation potential, the highest among all states. New York’s production only reached 5.15% of the potential, followed by Florida (2.02%), Illinois (1.95%), and Texas (1.87%).

The report also suggested that commercial rooftops could be used to increase rooftop solar generation in the US, as rooftops of warehouses in the US have the potential to produce 185.6TWh of solar electricity each year. On the other hand, solar modules on small buildings, including homes, have the potential to produce 926TWh of electricity every year.

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
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