The Impact of Photovoltaics on CO2 Emissions’

Reduction in the US


Photovoltaic energy is expected to enter in the future the US central electricity generation market as the cost of photovoltaic power is projected to decrease about four-fold in the next two decades. The potential penetration of photovoltaic (PV) technologies in the United States and its subsequent impact on reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, was evaluated using MARKAL-MACRO, an energy-environment-economic systems model. The model results provided an objective quantitative assessment of the prospects for PV in a competitive US market from 1995 to 2030.

This analysis indicates that PV has the potential to reach a total installed capacity of 140 GW by the year 2030, and to displace a cumulative 450 million metric tons of carbon emissions from 1995 to 2030. At the projected 2030 capacity, PV could displace over 64 million metric tons of carbon emissions a year. Under constraints on carbon emission, PV becomes more cost effective and would further reduce carbon emissions from the US energy system.


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Last Modified: June 18, 2008
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