The Huffington Post Wrote:
Shout it from the rooftops — America’s rooftop solar capacity could be double what scientists previously thought.
If Americans slapped solar panels on every flat, sunny rooftop in the country, the U.S. could satisfy nearly 40 percent of its total electricity demand from solar alone, according to a new study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
Experts say the numbers reflect newer, better methods for calculating total solar potential.
“For figuring out technical solar potential, I think this is a very good study,” Mike Jacobs, senior energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Huffington Post.
Researchers used sophisticated LiDAR technology to map the topography of 128 cities in the U.S. down to the square meter. Combining that data with estimates of solar capacity researchers were able to gauge the total rooftop space available for solar power production in the U.S.
Their findings estimate the “technical potential” of rooftop solar production in the U.S. to be 1,118 gigawatts of capacity, which amount to 39 percent of national electricity sales and is nearly double what previous studies estimated. The study also found that small buildings hold the greatest solar potential, accounting for 65 percent of potential rooftop solar capacity.