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Feasibility of City-Scale Solar Power Plants Using Public Buildings: Case Studies of Newark and Wilmington Delaware with Early Investigations of Bifacial Solar Modules and Dual Orientation Racking as Tools for City-Scale Solar Development

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Document pages: 82 pages

Abstract: Installed rooftop solar PV generation in the U.S. has grown rapidly to meet the increasing electricity demand, reduce reliance on expensive fossil fuel, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. topped 2 million solar PV installations in 2019, hitting a milestone previously reached only by two countries — Australia in 2018 and Japan in 2014. Delaware, for example, average solar electricity consumption increased at a compound growth rate of 138 from 2010-2016. Some of the factors contributing to this dramatic growth of solar power include the declining cost of solar equipment, installation, and operation and maintenance (O&M) which make investment in rooftop PV attractive for municipal and state buildings, universities, colleges, K-12 schools, and hospitals (often abbreviated as MUSH). Although investment opportunities in urban rooftop PV in privately-owned residential and commercial buildings have also grown significantly in Delaware, as consumers seek greater control of their energy use, MUSH buildings provide the most attractive PV investment potential due to their public function and better institutional capacity. This report describes our findings for research conducted with the support of the Delaware General Assembly — Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Services Program in 2018-2019. The analysis for both Wilmington Solar City Plant (SCP) and Newark SCP has identified a priority buildingscape with significant solar technical potential. The results of a direct purchase option analysis assuming a utility-scale opportunity, show feasible PV system deployment at 9.68 cents kWh for both cities. Current average retail costs for electricity in the two cities are greater than 14 cents kWh.

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