Feasibility and Benefits of Deploying Solar Electric Generation Across Public and Commercial Roof Space in Eugene, Oregon
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Many commercial and public buildings have large expanses of roof area that are ideally suited for generating electricity with solar photovoltaics (PV). They are often free of obstructions from the sun, like large trees or other natural barriers and are generally taller than most residential structures that may be nearby. By developing a network of interconnected, small to medium-scale solar PV arrays, we may be able to realize economic, environmental and social benefits that steer Eugene toward a more sustainable energy future by reducing our dependence on costly, non-renewable energy sources. While we certainly will not be able to meet all of our electricity needs through distributed solar PV, we could substantially reduce our dependence on the most detrimental non-renewable resources that we currently rely on and increase our overall renewable energy portfolio. This research investigates the feasibility and potential economic and environmental benefits derived from deploying distributed generation, solar PV systems on public and commercial rooftops in Eugene, Oregon. GIS software and aerial photographs are used to determine the available under-utilized roof area and locally available solar data are used to estimate the amount of energy it is possible to generate.