Electrical and Computer Engineering Publications

U.S. market for solar photovoltaic plug-and-play systems

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Renewable Energy

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Plug and play solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are affordable, easy to install and portable grid-tied solar electric systems, which can be purchased and installed by an average prosumer (producing consumer). The combination of recent technical/safety analysis and trends in other advanced industrialized nations, indicate that U.S. electrical regulations may allow plug and play solar in the future. Such a shift in regulations could radically alter the current PV market. This study provides an estimate of this new U.S. market for plug and play PV systems if such regulations are updated by investigating personal financial decision making for Americans. The potential savings for the prosumer are mapped for the U.S. over a range of scenarios. The results show the total potential U.S. market of over 57 GW, which represents an opportunity for sales for retailers from $14.3–$71.7 billion depending on the capital cost of plug and play solar systems ($0.25-$1.25/W). These systems would generate ∼108,417,000 MWh/year, which is 4 times the electricity generated from U.S. solar in 2015. This distributed solar energy would provide prosumers approximately $13 billion/year in cost savings, which would be expected to increase by about 3% per year over the year lifetime of the systems.

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