Solar Rooftops on Warehouses: A Path for Rapid Decarbonization
- Jan 25, 2022 6:15 pm GMT
This item is part of the Power Industry 2022 Trends & Predictions - January 2022 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more
Written by: Laura Marsiglio, Student, Energy Systems Engineering, Lehigh University, Dana Case, Student, Energy Systems Engineering, Lehigh University, Rudy Shankar, Director, Energy Systems Engineering, Lehigh University
Energy transition strategies include vast substitution of fossil-based resources, especially coal plants, with solar- or wind resources. With prices dropping for solar technologies and increasing sophistication, it is the more popular choice with capacities that can be considered for sizes ranging from residential rooftops, commercial office roof space to large vacated farmlands. The recent pandemic has accelerated e-commerce purchasing, requiring businesses to stock supplies in warehouses. Huge warehouses are sprouting up like mushrooms along local highways, on country roads and in farm fields. The boom is being driven, in large part, by the astonishing growth of e-commerce retailer’s proximity to large urban centers. Some states have already mandated that warehouses be solar ready: California and New Jersey are prominent examples. It is estimated that warehouse rooftop space availability in the U.S. is equivalent to 40 GW solar capacity, slightly less than 5% of the nation’s total capacity, but nearly 20% of the coal plants it could replace. This paper lays out the case for considering large scale integration of solar on the grid by considering warehouse roofs as important resources.
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