For retailers, supply chain operators and other small- to medium-sized businesses, decentralized electricity generation via rooftop and small-scale commercial solar photovoltaic panels represents one of the best ways to reduce conventional electricity generation and related infrastructure impacts, according to a new report from Pike Research.
Because on-site solar panels – or so-called distributed photovoltaics – are modular, systems of less than 20 megawatts in size are easy to add to both rooftops and solar gardens. The size of the distributed PV market is expected to grow from 3.6 GW in 2008 to 9.7 GW by 2013, or 22 percent compounded annual growth, according to the executive summary of the report, “Distributed Solar Energy Generation.” (PDF, registration required)
Still, compared to conventional electricity generation, distributed PVs represent just a drop in the bucket, as global electricity generation is expected to grow to 7 TW in 2030.
In fact, just four percent of global electricity generation in 2007 was considered renewable. And of those 160 GW, only four percent is distributed renewable.
The silver lining for distributed renewable energy is that it represents 16 percent of new capacity additions.
The report suggests that the market value of distributed PV sales will grow from $30 billion 2008 to nearly $60 billion by 2013.
This chart shows a comparison of the pros and cons of distributed solar and wind.