Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > Annual Energy Outlook's Solar Projections Trumped: Residential Photovoltaic Projections to 2040
pdf

The most recent Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) published by the United States Energy Information Administration projects key parameters in the energy system, such as energy production and consumption, through 2040. In this study, solar energy projections for the AEO 2014 reference case are scrutinized and hypothesized to underestimate the expected growth in residential solar applications. The impacts of state-of-the-art technological advances in materials and conversion efficiencies, the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, declining costs, and novel solar applications, such as thin-film and building integrated photovoltaic technology, are considered in this analysis. Anticipated generation is expected to exceed the reference case projections by 0.2704 quadrillion Btu in 2040. Thus, total expected generation from residential photovoltaic applications in the United States is 0.495 quadrillion Btu. This represents a significant departure from the AEO reference case projection.