Massive Solar Prospects For Massachusetts

DOE Estimates 506 GW AC Technical Potential For US East Coast State

Massive Solar Prospects For Massachusetts

Of the technical solar energy potential of Massachusetts as determined by Synapse Energy Economics, 91% was found to be in ground mounted PV. (Photo Credit: Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources)

  • DOER commissioned report pegs Massachusetts’ technical solar energy potential at 506 GW AC
  • Of this, 52 GW AC is top-rated which means it is almost double of what the state officially targets by 2050 to become decarbonized
  • The state can take help from the data to identify pockets with the highest solar potential and encourage direct investment and resources towards prioritizing solar here

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) believes the US state carries a technical potential of 506 GW AC solar PV capacity, including 52 GW AC top-rated and 152 GW AC highly suitable for rooftop, canopy and ground mounted solar as against the official target of 27 GW AC to 34 GW AC by 2050 under its climate plan.

It means the state has more than enough solar potential to support its decarbonization requirements, ‘about 15 to 18 times what is likely needed’. “The top-rated parcels add up to double the amount of solar called for in the 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap,” it adds.

The potential estimate is huge considering the state only had over 4 GW solar capacity installed as on March 31, 2023, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Synapse Energy Economics, a consulting agency, used its ArcGIS StoryMap tool software to estimate the state’s total potential for rooftop, canopy and ground mounted solar basis parcel-based geospatial analysis of every property tax parcel in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It ascertained the potential for 6 categories, namely agriculture, biodiversity, other ecosystem services, embedded carbon dioxide, electric infrastructure, and slope and aspect.

The land parcels evaluated add up to nearly 7,200 sq kms of which 91% is ground mounted was found to have technical solar potential.

“With the study results, we can be strategic about where and what kinds of solar we deploy without sacrificing ratepayer cost, our natural resources, or our clean energy goals,” said DOER Commissioner Elizabeth Mahony. “This tool allows us to identify pockets where the most suitable solar potential is, and direct investment and resources towards prioritizing solar in those areas.”

The complete report titled Massachusetts Technical Potential of Solar An analysis of solar potential and siting suitability in the Commonwealth is available for free download on the DOER website.

The US aims for a 95% decarbonized grid by 2035 with a major contribution from solar energy. The administration’s Solar Futures Study targets an average of 30 GW AC PV capacity addition till 2025, increasing to 60 GW AC between 2030 to 2035 (see US Wants 40% Electricity From Solar By 2035).

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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