NREL Says Shared Solar Represents A Potential 11 GW Market Through 2020


Analysis from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds that shared solar projects accessible by households and businesses that currently cannot host on-site photovoltaic systems could represent 32% to 49% of the distributed PV market in 2020.

The report provides an overview of the current U.S. shared solar landscape, estimates the market potential for U.S. shared solar deployment and evaluates  how U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regulations affect how such programs may be structured.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • At least 49% of U.S. households and 48% of businesses are currently unable to host a PV system due to site unsuitability, ownership and multi-unit dwelling status;
  • Shared solar could lead to cumulative U.S. PV deployment growth of 5.5 GW to 11 GW between 2015 and 2020; and
  • Shared solar projects that are marketed and structured to reduce customers' retail electricity bills are less likely to be treated as securities than those marketed and structured primarily as profit-generating programs.

‘Historically, PV business models and regulatory environments have not been designed to expand access to a significant portion of potential PV system customers,’ says David Feldman, NREL energy analyst and lead author on the report. ‘As a result, the economic, environmental and social benefits of distributed PV have not been available to all consumers. Shared solar programs open up the market to the other half of businesses and households.’

The research was funded by the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in support of its SunShot Initiative.

To download the report, ‘Shared Solar: Current Landscape, Market Potential, and the Impact of Federal Securities Regulation,’ click here.

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