Home
This Title All WIREs
WIREs RSS Feed
How to cite this WIREs title:
WIREs Energy Environ.
Impact Factor: 2.889

Location or insolation: the importance of siting in emissions mitigation from solar photovoltaics

Full article on Wiley Online Library:   HTML PDF

Can't access this content? Tell your librarian.

Achieving environmental benefits is often a primary motivation for integrating renewable energy into the grid. The magnitude of generation from a solar power project is influenced by the solar resource quality, but locations with high insolation do not necessarily yield the greatest emission reduction benefits. This study simulates the power system response to 10 identical solar projects in different regions across the United States, selected to represent a wide range of solar resource quality and power grid configurations. The power grid mix is often a key determinant in offsetting CO2 , SO2 , and NOx emissions, illustrating how lower‐quality solar resources can be more effective than sunnier sites at emissions mitigation when one considers characteristics of the power grid. The analysis shows a strong relationship between emissions mitigation and the share of offset generation that is coal‐fired. The strongest correlation is shown for CO2 ; the presence or absence of emissions control equipment and the sulfur content of the coal complicates the relationship of SO2 and NOx . The emissions intensity of offset generation is insensitive to whether the solar project is fixed tilt or single‐axis tracking. When seeking to mitigate power sector emissions, the impacts of solar design considerations on the temporal profile of generation are less important than the overall amount of generation and the location of interconnection. Public policies that target only the magnitude of generation from renewables (e.g., many Renewable Portfolio Standards) or the installed cost (e.g., the Investment Tax Credit) will likely lead to suboptimal emissions mitigation. WIREs Energy Environ 2017, 6:e249. doi: 10.1002/wene.249

This article is categorized under:

  • Photovoltaics > Climate and Environment
  • Energy and Development > Systems and Infrastructure
Map of 10 selected solar photovoltaic sites (with Typical Meteorological Year 3 station identification numbers and state abbreviations), superimposed on a US National Renewable Energy Laboratory solar resource map, which assumes a solar collector tilt angle set at latitude
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual trends in offset emissions intensity from solar photovoltaic generation (fixed tilt at latitude), for (a) CO2, (b) SO2, and (c) NOx.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Relationship between offset emissions intensity and the proportion of coal offset per unit of solar generation, for (a) CO2, (b) SO2, and (c) NOx.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual emissions reduction, as driven by offset emissions intensity and solar capacity factor, assuming a single‐axis tracking solar installation in 2015. Results show (a) CO2, (b) SO2, and (c) NOx.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Annual emissions reduction, as driven by offset emissions intensity and solar capacity factor, assuming a solar configuration with fixed tilt equal to latitude. Results show (a) CO2, (b) SO2, and (c) NOx, indicative of 2015.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]
Offset emissions intensity and total emissions mitigation from a 10 MWdc solar photovoltaic installation with fixed tilt set to latitude for (a) CO2, (b) SO2, and (c) NOx, indicative of 2015.
[ Normal View | Magnified View ]

Browse by Topic

Energy and Development > Systems and Infrastructure
Photovoltaics > Climate and Environment

Access to this WIREs title is by subscription only.

Recommend to Your
Librarian Now!

The latest WIREs articles in your inbox

Sign Up for Article Alerts