India offers lowest LCOE for rooftop PV, third-best generation potential

From pv magazine India

The levelized cost of rooftop solar generation is the lowest in India ($66/MWh) and China ($68/MWh), while the United States ($238/MWh) and the United Kingdom ($251/MWh) are some of the most expensive countries, according to a new international study.

The study was co-authored by Priyadarshi Shukla, a professor at Ahmedabad University and the director of its Global Centre for Environment and Energy, along with Shivika Mittal from Imperial College London and James Glynn from Columbia University. The team was led by Siddharth Joshi, a researcher at MaREI, the SFI Research Centre for Energy, Climate and Marine in University College Cork. 

The study showed a global rooftop solar generation potential of 27 petawatt-hours (PWh) per year. Nearly 20% of the global potential is located within the areas with a high population density due to a corresponding increase in the building stock. Among countries, China (4.3 PWh/year), the United States (4.2 PWh/year) and India (1.7 PWh/year) have the highest solar energy generation potential.

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“Solar energy is generated during daytime coinciding with the time when electricity demand is at its peak. India’s solar rooftop potential of 1.7 petawatt-hour per year is very significant. We would be able to match India’s current electricity demand of 1.3 petawatt-hour per annum if we install efficient solar panels on 40% of the country’s available rooftop area,” said Shukla. 

The researchers used a modeling framework to assess the electricity generation potential of rooftop solar PV systems globally and its associated costs. The authors mapped 130 million square kilometers of global land surface area to identify 0.2 million square kilometers of rooftop area using a machine-learning algorithm. This rooftop area was then analyzed to document the global electricity generation potential of rooftop solar PV. 

The energy generation potential of rooftop solar panels exceeded the global yearly aggregated energy consumption in 2018. However, its future potential will depend on the development and cost of storage solutions for the generated energy, said the report.

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