Virtual Solar Grid Adds Large-Scale Rooftop Solar Systems

Originally published on March 4, 2018 at LinkedIn

Roofs provide an excellent choice for installing solar panels. A 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Energy asserted that if all usable roofs in the U.S. were covered by solar panels, they could provide as much as 40% of the electricity used by the entire country. Roofs are not limited to those of your own homes, though. All together, office buildings, factory buildings, store buildings, and warehouse buildings provide a huge area that could be realistically turned into sizable solar fields. Compared with ground-mounted solar farms, these roof space does not compete with agriculture for land use, they rarely affect the aesthetics of the buildings because no one can really see them, and they pose minimum environmental impacts as they are already ecologically disturbed.

This weekend, I started to add accurate Energy3D models of existing large-scale rooftop systems to the Virtual Solar Grid to demonstrate the viability. Let’s go sightseeing.

Factory buildings

General Motors’ Baltimore Operations
Boeing South Carolina
Tesla Gigafactory (hypothetical solar arrays)

Store buildings

Natick Mall in Natick, Massachusetts (largest mall in New England)
IKEA in Stoughton, Massachusetts
Gordon Indoor Track of Harvard University

School buildings

Malden Catholic High School, Massachusetts
Charlottesville High School, Virginia

Computational Scientist, Physicist, & Inventor at the Institute for Future Intelligence

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