An overview of the market potential of various solar electric technologies considers the application to both distributed generation (DG) systems and building integrated systems. The State of California is used as an example of the analysis of system performance, economic return on investment and market penetration over the next decade. California was chosen as a test case because of recent central generation and T&D shortages. In the distributed generation context, solar energy has the potential to meet a large portion of the peak demand of California. With existing tax credits, systems are cost effective in certain locations at the present time. PV can be installed relatively quickly (weeks) on existing residential and commercial buildings with no requirements for the lengthy environmental reviews and siting problems of most power plants; therefore they are the fastest source which can be deployed in most locations in California. The approach in this article uses hourly loads derived from standard simulations. Along with the California building inventory by building type, hourly solar system simulations for standard buildings from each sector (e.g., hospitals, restaurants, schools, offices) and microeconomic calculations, returns on investment for each location and each building type are found. Finally the Bass diffusion model is used to calculate the number of solar modules that will be sold each year for the next decade. Results show that much of the output of the US photovoltaic industry could be economically dispatched in California.

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