Rooftop solar key to retrofitting established cities with green tech - IRENA

Installed rooftop solar PV could rise to 580GW under a major paradigm shift for household energy consumption. Credit: IRENA

Rooftop solar will play a crucial role in supplying electricity to the world’s burgeoning city populations due to the ease of retrofitting PV onto established buildings, according to the latest report from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The ‘Renewable Energy in Cities’ study noted that installed rooftop solar PV could rise to 580GW under a major paradigm shift for household energy consumption. Combined with energy storage and electric vehicles, PV will help consumers produce their own electricity and reduce risks related to shortages, blackouts and volatility in electricity prices.

This article requires Premium SubscriptionBasic (FREE) Subscription

Unlock unlimited access for 12 whole months of distinctive global analysis

Photovoltaics International is now included.

  • Regular insight and analysis of the industry’s biggest developments
  • In-depth interviews with the industry’s leading figures
  • Unlimited digital access to the PV Tech Power journal catalogue
  • Unlimited digital access to the Photovoltaics International journal catalogue
  • Access to more than 1,000 technical papers
  • Discounts on Solar Media’s portfolio of events, in-person and virtual

Or continue reading this article for free

The rooftop boom was evident between 2010 and 2014 when rooftop solar power capacity more than tripled worldwide, from 30GW to 100GW, enough to cover the electricity demand of roughly the equivalent of 30 million households.

Renewable energy implementation in cities is key becasue they account for 65% of global energy use and 70% of man-made carbon emissions. While new buildings can have efficiencies designed into them, established cities must rely on retrofits to bring in renewables and heat pumps and rooftop solar PV will be the key drivers.

Rooftop policy in action

IRENA cited breakthroughs such as San Francisco becoming the first major US city to require all new buildings to install rooftop solar. Similarly, California requires new builds to set aside 15% of roof space to be “solar ready”, in other words a space that is clear and unshaded.

Elsewhere, Australia's Adelaide has launched a solar leasing initiative to reduce the upfront cost of installing solar systems, targeted at lower income households.

Tokyo also plans to install 1GW of rooftop systems by 2024, including 22MW of PV on metropolis-owned buildings and facilities by 2020.

Yesterday, consultancy firm Bridge to India revealed that India had surpassed 1GW of rooftop solar installations by more than doubling its entire installed capacity in one year and the sector is expected to grow faster than the already surging utility-scale sector within the next five years. Grid parity has also been reached across the majority of C&I solar consumers in India.

Adnan Amin, IRENA director general, said: “Cities can play a transformative role in leading the world to a clean and sustainable energy future. We have to rethink the entire urban energy landscape, which requires rigorous planning and holistic decision-making. Renewable energy, combined with energy efficiency, will power the future growth of cities. We must ensure this transition happens as soon as possible.”

8 October 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA
PV Tech has been running an annual PV CellTech Conference since 2016. PV CellTech USA, on 8-9 October 2024 is our second PV CellTech conference dedicated to the U.S. manufacturing sector. The event in 2023 was a sell out success and 2024 will once again gather the key stakeholders from PV manufacturing, equipment/materials, policy-making and strategy, capital equipment investment and all interested downstream channels and third-party entities. The goal is simple: to map out PV manufacturing in the U.S. out to 2030 and beyond.

Read Next

July 18, 2024
EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA) has inaugurated the 200MW/40MW  Scarlet I solar-plus-storage project in Fresno County, California.
July 12, 2024
IRENA has found that the world’s renewable power capacity will need to increase by 16.4%, year-on-year, to meet the world’s climate targets.
July 12, 2024
Solar developer Green Gold Energy revealed on Thursday (11 July) that it has received development approval to construct a 108MW solar farm in South Australia.
June 17, 2024
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has taken control of a 500kV, 125-mile transmission line between California and Arizona.
June 7, 2024
Community solar has expanded access to solar adoption to communities struggling to adopt rooftop PV, according to research from the Lawrence Berkeley Lab (LBL) and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL).
June 3, 2024
Korean-owned solar manufacturer Qcells has commissioned a 50MW/200MWh solar-plus-storage project in California.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
July 31, 2024
1:00 PM (BST) / 2:00PM (CEST)
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Warsaw, Poland
Solar Media Events
September 24, 2024
Singapore, Asia
Solar Media Events
October 8, 2024
San Francisco Bay Area, USA