O.K., let’s install 200,000 GW of solar

Just re-posted the announced growth in wind power in parts of the United States, and now the Big Gav relays that  ”the technical potential of photovoltaics and concentrating solar power (CSP) in the U.S. amounts to just under 200,000 GW.”

According to a new study released by NREL, there is the potential to generate around 399,700 TWh of energy annually.

The U.S.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has published a new report – U.S. renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis – in which it says, technically, 154,864 of photovoltaics and 38,000 GW of CSP could be installed. This would mean, photovoltaics could generate around 483,600 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy annually, and CSP, 116,100. Refer to the table for a breakdown of the different solar technologies.

Overall, it believes rural utility-scale photovoltaics has more potential than any other renewable energy technology, due to the “relatively high power density, the absence of minimum resource threshold, and the availability of large swaths for development.” Meanwhile, Texas is said to have the ability to account for around 14 percent of this 153 GW, or 280,600 TWh annual potential.

In terms of urban utility-scale photovoltaics, NREL says Texas and California have the highest estimated technical potential, due to both their strong solar resources and high populations. With significantly less estimated technical potential, it is thought that rooftop photovoltaics will be most successful in those states with higher population densities, like California.