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Title: SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future

Abstract

In this report we summarize the implications, impacts, and deployment potential of reaching the SunShot 2030 targets for the electricity system in the contiguous United States. We model 25 scenarios of the U.S. power sector using the Regional Energy Deployment Systems (ReEDS) and Distributed Generation (dGen) capacity expansion models. The scenarios cover a wide range of sensitivities to capture future uncertainties relating to fuel prices, retirements, renewable energy capital costs, and load growth. We give special attention to the potential for storage costs to also rapidly decline due to its large synergies with low-cost solar. The ReEDS and dGen models project utility- and distributed-scale power sector evolution, respectively, for the United States. Both models have been designed with special emphasis on capturing the unique traits of renewable energy, including variability and grid integration requirements. Across the suite of scenarios modeled, we find that reaching the SunShot 2030 target has the potential to lead to significant capacity additions of PV in the United States. By 2050, PV penetration levels are projected to reach 28-46 percent of total generation. If storage also sees significant reductions in cost, then the 2050 solar penetration levels could reach 41-64 percent. PV deployment is projected tomore » occur in all of the lower 48 states, though the specific deployment level is scenario dependent. The growth in PV is projected to be dominated by utility-scale systems, but the actual mix between utility and distributed systems could ultimately vary depending on how policies, system costs, and rate structures evolve.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1392206
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-6A20-68105
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; solar PV; SunShot; ReEDS; capacity expansion; photovoltaics; projection; electricity sector; battery storage

Citation Formats

Cole, Wesley J., Frew, Bethany A., Gagnon, Pieter J., Richards, James, Sun, Yinong, Margolis, Robert M., and Woodhouse, Michael A. SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1392206.
Cole, Wesley J., Frew, Bethany A., Gagnon, Pieter J., Richards, James, Sun, Yinong, Margolis, Robert M., & Woodhouse, Michael A. SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future. United States. doi:10.2172/1392206.
Cole, Wesley J., Frew, Bethany A., Gagnon, Pieter J., Richards, James, Sun, Yinong, Margolis, Robert M., and Woodhouse, Michael A. 2017. "SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future". United States. doi:10.2172/1392206. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1392206.
@article{osti_1392206,
title = {SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future},
author = {Cole, Wesley J. and Frew, Bethany A. and Gagnon, Pieter J. and Richards, James and Sun, Yinong and Margolis, Robert M. and Woodhouse, Michael A.},
abstractNote = {In this report we summarize the implications, impacts, and deployment potential of reaching the SunShot 2030 targets for the electricity system in the contiguous United States. We model 25 scenarios of the U.S. power sector using the Regional Energy Deployment Systems (ReEDS) and Distributed Generation (dGen) capacity expansion models. The scenarios cover a wide range of sensitivities to capture future uncertainties relating to fuel prices, retirements, renewable energy capital costs, and load growth. We give special attention to the potential for storage costs to also rapidly decline due to its large synergies with low-cost solar. The ReEDS and dGen models project utility- and distributed-scale power sector evolution, respectively, for the United States. Both models have been designed with special emphasis on capturing the unique traits of renewable energy, including variability and grid integration requirements. Across the suite of scenarios modeled, we find that reaching the SunShot 2030 target has the potential to lead to significant capacity additions of PV in the United States. By 2050, PV penetration levels are projected to reach 28-46 percent of total generation. If storage also sees significant reductions in cost, then the 2050 solar penetration levels could reach 41-64 percent. PV deployment is projected to occur in all of the lower 48 states, though the specific deployment level is scenario dependent. The growth in PV is projected to be dominated by utility-scale systems, but the actual mix between utility and distributed systems could ultimately vary depending on how policies, system costs, and rate structures evolve.},
doi = {10.2172/1392206},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 9
}

Technical Report:

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  • This presentation summarizes the findings from the report 'SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future.' This presentation was given as a webinar on September 26, 2017.
  • The installed cost of solar photovoltaics (PV) has fallen rapidly in recent years and is expected to continue declining in the future. In this report, we focus on the potential for continued PV cost reductions in the residential market. From 2010 to 2017, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for residential PV declined from 52 cents per kilowatt-hour (cents/kWh) to 16 cents/kWh (Fu et al. 2017). The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) recently set new LCOE targets for 2030, including a target of 5 cents/kWh for residential PV. We present a roadmap for achieving themore » SETO 2030 residential PV target. Because the 2030 target likely will not be achieved under business-as-usual trends (NREL 2017), we examine two key market segments that demonstrate significant opportunities for cost savings and market growth: installing PV at the time of roof replacement and installing PV as part of the new home construction process. Within both market segments, we identify four key cost-reduction opportunities: market maturation, business model integration, product innovation, and economies of scale. To assess the potential impact of these cost reductions, we compare modeled residential PV system prices in 2030 to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL's) quarter one 2017 (Q1 2017) residential PV system price benchmark (Fu et al. 2017). We use a bottom-up accounting framework to model all component and project-development costs incurred when installing a PV system. The result is a granular accounting for 11 direct and indirect costs associated with installing a residential PV system in 2030. All four modeled pathways demonstrate significant installed-system price savings over the Q1 2017 benchmark, with the visionary pathways yielding the greatest price benefits. The largest modeled cost savings are in the supply chain, sales and marketing, overhead, and installation labor cost categories. When we translate these installed-system costs into LCOE, we find that the less-aggressive pathways achieve significant cost reductions, but may not achieve the 2030 LCOE target. On the other hand, both visionary pathways could get very close to (for roof replacement) or achieve (for new construction) the 2030 target. Our analysis has two key implications. First, because installed-system soft cost reductions account for about 65 percent of the LCOE reductions in 2030 for both visionary pathways, residential PV stakeholders may need to emphasize these soft cost reductions to achieve the 2030 target. Second, capturing these savings will likely require considerable innovation in the technologies and business practices employed by the PV industry.« less
  • Declining costs of both solar photovoltaics (PV) and battery storage have raised interest in the creation of “solar-plus-storage” systems to provide dispatchable energy and reliable capacity. There has been limited deployment of PV-plus-energy storage systems (PV+ESS), and the actual configuration and performance of these systems for dispatchable energy are in the early stages of being defined. In contrast, concentrating solar power with thermal energy storage (CSP+TES) has been deployed at scale with the proven capability of providing a dispatchable, reliable source of renewable generation. A key question moving forward is how to compare the relative costs and benefits of PV+ESSmore » and CSP+TES. While both technologies collect solar radiation and produce electricity, they do so through very different mechanisms, which creates challenges for direct comparison. Nonetheless, it is important to establish a framework for comparison and to identify cost and performance targets to aid meeting the nation’s goals for clean energy deployment. In this paper, we provide a preliminary assessment comparing the cost of energy from CSP+TES and PV+ESS that focuses on a single metric: levelized cost of energy (LCOE). We begin by defining the configuration of each system, which is particularly important for PV+ESS systems. We then examine a range of projected cost declines for PV, batteries, and CSP. Finally, we summarize the estimated LCOE over a range of configuration and cost estimates. We conclude by acknowledging that differences in these technologies present challenges for comparison using a single performance metric. We define systems with similar configurations in some respects. In reality, because of inherent differences in CSP+TES and PV+ESS systems, they will provide different grid services and different value. For example, depending on its configuration, a PV+ESS system may provide additional value over CSP+TES by providing more flexible operation, including certain ancillary services and the ability to store off-peak grid energy. Alternatively, direct thermal energy storage allows a greater capture of solar energy, reducing the potential for curtailments in very high solar scenarios. So while this analysis evaluates a key performance metric (cost per unit of generation) under a range of cost projections, additional analysis of the value per unit of generation will be needed to comprehensively assess the relative competitiveness of solar energy systems deployed with energy storage.« less
  • The U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative focuses on making solar energy cost competitive throughout the United States.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative focuses on making solar energy cost competitive throughout the United States.