BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 18

FEATURE: SOLAR IN THE CITY

BY ERIC WALLACE
AND ALEX MIRABILE

PEER REVIEWED BY
STEVEN STRONG

H

DESIGNING SOLAR FOR
HIGH-DENSITY AREAS

umans have been trying to harness the
power of the sun for millennia. The advent
and popularization of photovoltaics in the
latter half of the twentieth century made
doing so accessible to the masses. Today,
solar arrays are commonly seen adorning the roofs of
suburban homes, "big-box" retailers and landscapes
including expansive solar farms and capped landfills.
Until recently, the common thread between these
locations has been open space. Solar applications have
historically been reserved for use in areas of low-tomoderate building density.
By the end of 2050, solar energy is projected to be
the world's largest source of electricity. While utilityscale solar will account for the majority of this capacity,
there will also be significant growth in the commercial
and residential sectors - particularly in cities. Industry
influencers are increasingly focused on creating
opportunities for solar applications in high-density
areas, where much of the demand lies.
By the end of 2015, 20 U.S. cities accounted for
six percent of the country's solar photovoltaic (PV)
capacity. This is particularly impressive given that these
cities combined account for merely 0.1% of U.S. land
area. According to "Shining Cities 2016," Environmental
America's report regarding the status of solar power in
the United States, 64 of America's cities have installed

over 1,700 MW of cumulative solar PV capacity -
almost as much as the entire country had installed by
the end of 2010.
HOW ARE THESE CITIES DOING IT?
System costs across all sectors are rapidly
decreasing due to an explosion in demand, pushing the
industry further along its experience curve and leading
to technological advances in modules, among other
improvements. As costs continue to drop, solar power
development becomes feasible in more challenging
locations, including high-density areas. Many cities
have established green initiatives in order to increase
the public visibility of renewable energy, pursue their
own sustainable goals and save money on operational
costs. For example, 37 public buildings in Las Vegas
have reached a solar capacity of 6.2 MW. This includes
fire stations, community centers and parks, as well as
a 3.3 MW generating station at the city's wastewater
treatment plant. Tampa, Raleigh, New York City and
Atlanta are also at the forefront of incorporating solar
power into their government and public facilities.
In addition to the reduced costs and increased
supply of solar PV, demand is being bolstered by the
availability of incentives. The Federal Investment
Tax Credit (ITC) offers up to a 30 percent rebate for
installation costs through 2019 and continues the

CREDIT: NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY
CITATION: FU, RAN, ET AL. U.S. SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM COST BENCHMARK: Q1 2017. NATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY, 2017,
U.S. SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM COST BENCHMARK: Q1 2017, WWW.NREL.GOV/DOCS/FY17OSTI/68925.PDF.

18 * BUILDINGENERGY VOL. 37 NO. 1 | SPRING 2018


http://WWW.NREL.GOV/DOCS/FY17OSTI/68925.PDF

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018

From the Executive Director
From the Board Chair
Product Choices for High-Performing Building: Materials Matter
Designing Solar for High-Density Areas
High Performance Building Valuation Techniques
Starting with the End in Mind: Enhanced Turnover for Efficient Building Operations
Behavior Based Strategies and Organizational Change in Commercial & Public Buildings: The Human Component of Energy Efficiency
Commercial HVAC Retrofits That Work
Stretch Codes Emerge as a High Impact Strategy For Energy Savings
Scale it Up: Monitoring-Based Demand-Side Operations for NYC Agencies
The Retrofit Revolution
Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - intro
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover1
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover2
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 3
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 4
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 5
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - From the Executive Director
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 7
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 8
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 9
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - From the Board Chair
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 11
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Product Choices for High-Performing Building: Materials Matter
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 13
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 14
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 15
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 16
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 17
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Designing Solar for High-Density Areas
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 19
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 20
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 21
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - High Performance Building Valuation Techniques
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 23
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 24
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 25
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Starting with the End in Mind: Enhanced Turnover for Efficient Building Operations
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 27
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 28
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 29
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 30
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Behavior Based Strategies and Organizational Change in Commercial & Public Buildings: The Human Component of Energy Efficiency
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 32
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 33
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 34
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 35
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Commercial HVAC Retrofits That Work
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 37
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 38
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 39
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 40
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Stretch Codes Emerge as a High Impact Strategy For Energy Savings
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 42
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 43
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 44
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Scale it Up: Monitoring-Based Demand-Side Operations for NYC Agencies
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 46
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 47
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 48
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 49
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 50
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - The Retrofit Revolution
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - insert1
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - insert2
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 52
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 53
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 54
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 55
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 56
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 57
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 58
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 59
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - Index to Advertisers
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 61
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - 62
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover3
BUILDING ENERGY - Spring 2018 - cover4
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