The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has released a new report outlining the benefits of expanding the use of solar heating and cooling (SHC) systems.
Boston-based energy consulting firm BEAM Engineering prepared the report, which outlines a roadmap for increasing SHC capacity in the U.S. from its current 9 GW thermal to 300 GW thermal by 2050 through the installation of 100 million new SHC solar panels nationwide. Thermal energy is typically measured in terms of British Thermal Units (BTUs), but can also be converted to watts.
Approximately 44% of U.S. energy consumption is attributable to heating and cooling, the report says. According to projections by BEAM Engineering, ramping up the installation of SHC systems would allow the U.S. to generate nearly 8% of its total heating and cooling needs through solar energy. SHC costs are as low as $0.06/kWh, the report says.
‘Part of our challenge is to do a better job of educating policymakers – at both the state and federal level – about the enormous benefits SHC provides to American consumers and businesses, as well as to the U.S. economy,’ says SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.
BEAM Engineering says the SHC roadmap would produce a number of benefits, including the following:
- Saving $19.1 billion to homeowners, businesses, schools and government by deferring the need for electric and natural gas infrastructure expansion and repairs;
- Raising $2.1 billion annually in increased federal tax revenue through job creation and economic growth; and
- Increasing the U.S. annual gross domestic product in manufacturing by $1.4 billion.
The full report can be found here.