Solar modules on roofs could completely cover the world’s electricity needs

Solar system on the house roof. (Photo: Slavun / Shutterstock)

An international research team has calculated the potential of solar modules on roofs worldwide. According to this, the global electricity demand could be completely covered.

Solar systems are an important factor in the goal of generating electricity largely from renewable energy sources in the future. In 2020, the cumulative installed nominal output of photovoltaic systems worldwide was around 760 gigawatts, around a third of which was in China. A research team from universities in Ireland, Great Britain and India has now calculated that the global electricity demand could be completely covered with solar modules on roofs alone.



200,000 square kilometers of roof area

The researchers assumed data from 2018, according to which photovoltaic systems accounted for a quarter of the newly installed capacity for renewable energies. Also in the calculations one flowed the entire roof area on earth, which should amount to around 200,000 square kilometers. In addition, the researchers had to include the influence of solar radiation in their study, which can vary significantly depending on the latitude, but is crucial for the potentially usable energy.

The researchers also calculated the costs for installing the solar systems, which vary widely around the world. Depending on the country, these amounted to between 40 and 280 US dollars per 1,000 kilowatt hours, as geo.de writes. It would be comparatively cheap in India and China with 66 and 68 dollars respectively, with the most expensive in the USA (238 dollars) and Great Britain (251 dollars). At $ 153, Germany is in the upper midfield.



Solar modules provide 27 trillion kilowatt hours

According to the researchers, solar modules on roofs could deliver around 27 trillion kilowatt hours worldwide. That would be at least above the value of 24.7 trillion kilowatt hours given by the International Energy Agency for 2018. In order to be able to fully exploit the potential, however, the introduction of new market mechanisms on the electricity generation markets is necessary. Further cornerstones are falling prices for electricity storage systems and intelligent management in the field of networks.

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