#10 Rooftop Solar

This article explores rooftop solar as a climate change solution. It is based on Project Drawdown, which was a 2017 initiative that mapped the top 100 most effective solutions to reverse global warming.


This series in now getting towards the business end and solutions that people are more familiar with are starting to come to the forefront.

The authors begin with the statement that: “small-scale photovoltaic systems, typically sited on rooftops, are playing a significant role in harnessing that light, the most abundant resource on earth.

The authors also add that: “although photovoltaics (PV) provide less than 2 percent of the world’s electricity at present, PV has seen exponential growth over the past decade.”

Let’s look into the figures that have allowed rooftop solar to be ranked as the 10th most effective solution to reverse global warming. Rooftop solar could reduce CO2 emissions by 24.6 gigatons, for a net cost of $453.1 billion, but produce net savings of $3.46 trillion. This is certainly a powerful solution.

The authors explain that: “roof modules are spreading around the world because of their affordability.”

The authors explain solar power’s rise with the following statement:

“Solar PV has benefited from a virtuous cycle of falling costs, driven by incentives to accelerate its development and implementation, economies of scale in manufacturing, advances in panel technology, and innovative approaches for end user financing – such as the third-party ownership arrangements.”

The benefits of rooftop solar include the fact that it generates electricity without emitting greenhouse gases, it avoids losses of grid transition and it can feed unused electricity into the grid.

In terms of further benefits of rooftop solar, the authors had the following to say:

By having it as part of an energy-generation portfolio, utilities can avoid the capital costs of additional coal or gas plants, for which their customers would otherwise have to pay, and broader society is spared the environmental and public health impacts.”

For the benefits to developing countries, the authors had this to say: “rooftop PV is accelerating access to affordable, clean electricity and thereby becoming a powerful tool for eliminating poverty.” This is something that everyone would agree is a good thing.

What you need to know

This article looked into rooftop solar as a climate change solution. It was based on the 2017 analysis of Project Drawdown.

Rooftop solar comes out as a solution with a number of benefits for developed and developing economies. These benefits extend far beyond just being a powerful solution to reverse global warming.

In terms of its climate change impact this is significant. With or without government support and subsidies, this technology will continue to eat into the energy generation capacity of large established companies and democratise energy production.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think about rooftop solar as a climate change solution?

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I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby

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