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Cropland and rooftops: the global undertapped potential for solar photovoltaics

Yeligeti, Madhura and Hu, Wenxuan and Scholz, Yvonne and von Krbek, Kai and Stegen, Roland (2023) Cropland and rooftops: the global undertapped potential for solar photovoltaics. Environmental Research Letters, 18 (5). Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/accc47. ISSN 1748-9326.

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Official URL: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/accc47


The utilization of cropland and rooftops for solar photovoltaics (PVs) installation holds significant potential for enhancing global renewable energy capacity with the advantage of dual land-use. This study focuses on estimating the global area suitable for agrivoltaics (PV over crops) and rooftop PVs by employing open-access data, existing literature and simple numerical methods in a high spatial resolution of 10 km × 10 km. For agrivoltaics, the suitability is assessed with a systematic literature review on crop-dependent feasibility and profitability, especially for 18 major crops of the world. For rooftop PV, a non-linear curve fitting method is developed, using the urban land cover to calculate the PV-suitable built-up areas. This method is then verified by comparing the results with open-access building footprints. The spatially resolved suitability assessment unveils 4.64 million km2 of global PV-usable cropland corresponding to a geographic potential of about 217 Terawatts (TW) in an optimistic scenario and 0.21 million km2 of rooftop-PV suitable area accounting for about 30.5 TW maximum installable power capacity. The estimated suitable area offers a vast playground for energy system analysts to undertake techno-economic assessments, and for technology modellers and policy makers to promote PV implementation globally with the vision of net-zero emissions in the future.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/195017/
Document Type:Article
Title:Cropland and rooftops: the global undertapped potential for solar photovoltaics
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iDORCID Put Code
Yeligeti, MadhuraUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-9643-465XUNSPECIFIED
Scholz, YvonneUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1633-3825UNSPECIFIED
Date:5 May 2023
Journal or Publication Title:Environmental Research Letters
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Publisher:Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing
Keywords:agrivoltaics, agri-PV, rooftop-PV, open street map, land cover, renewable energy
HGF - Research field:Energy
HGF - Program:Energy System Design
HGF - Program Themes:Digitalization and System Technology
DLR - Research area:Energy
DLR - Program:E SY - Energy System Technology and Analysis
DLR - Research theme (Project):E - Energy System Technology
Location: Stuttgart
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Networked Energy Systems > Energy Systems Analysis, ST
Deposited By: Yeligeti, Madhura
Deposited On:09 May 2023 14:55
Last Modified:09 May 2023 14:55

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