SEMINAR: Measuring PV technical potential, financial feasibility, and associated societal benefits for educational institutions in the United States

SEMINAR: Measuring PV technical potential, financial feasibility, and associated societal benefits for educational institutions in the United States

Seminar Abstract 

In 2016, approximately 64% of total electricity generated in the United States came from fossil fuel sources, while approximately 2% came from utility-scale solar and solar photovoltaic (PV) generation. Due to this mostly fossil fuel dependent electricity portfolio, electricity generation accounted for approximately 35% of total U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the same year. Although there is a significant literature on the diffusion of solar PV throughout the residential sector, little is known regarding solar PV’s potential among educational institutions. Therefore, our research identifies the technical potential and financial feasibility of installing PV on educational facilities throughout the U.S. with a particular focus on the societal and environmental benefits associated with offsetting traditional electricity generation methods.
 
We estimate PV technical potential at the building-level using a building database provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, available roof space estimated from LIDAR data, solar irradiance from TMY3 data, and other standard assumptions for PV specifications and roof construction. To assess the financial feasibility, we use the average commercial electricity retail rates from Open EI and obtain project cost and incentive information from the LBNL Tracking the Sun dataset. Quantified benefits include savings from avoided electricity costs and regional environmental (CO2 emissions) and health (SO2, NOX, and PM2.5 ) benefits, estimated with two integrated air quality models: AP2 and the EASIUR model. The main outcome of this research is to illustrate which regions in the United States can benefit the most from solar PV given its potential in educational institutions, which stand to be leaders of sustainability in their communities.

Seminar Speaker(s) 

Nichole Hanus
Ph.D. student, Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University
Nichole Hanus is a PhD student in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research employs behavioral decision sciences and engineering analysis to characterize commercial building energy efficiency investments, utility rate payer accountability strategies, and distributed generation resources on educational buildings. Her work is inspired by her professional experience in energy efficiency consulting at Sieben Energy Associates (Chicago, IL). She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in Renewable and Clean Energy from the University of Dayton. Nichole’s undergraduate research examined how information can augment community-based energy conservation. Formerly, she was a visiting scholar at ETH in the Department of Environmental Systems Science and she is currently hosted by Christopher Payne as a visiting research affiliate at LBNL in the Building Technology and Urban Systems Division. Nichole holds a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

Date 

Jul 25, 2017 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Location 

90-3122