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Rooftop Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States

This data submission contains a workbook with data, and three sets of shapefiles that correspond to that data.
Contact: Meghan Mooney,

The workbook contains data that underlies the 2016 technical report Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment.

This data is separated into small, medium, and large buildings. A small building is less than 5,000 square feet, a medium building is between 5,000 and 25,000 square feet, and a large building is greater than 25,000 square feet. The suitability of roof area for hosting PV was determined based on shading (energy production not less than 70% of an identical unshaded system in the same location), tilt (no greater than 60 degree tilt), azimuth (not facing north), and contiguous roof area (at least 10 square meters available) criteria. For further documentation of methods and assumptions, see the 2016 report.

The tab Rooftop_PV_with_Lidar_Coverage contains estimates for zip codes where at least some lidar data was available. The zip_percentage column indicates the percentage of area of each zip code was covered by lidar data -- only buildings within the covered area are reported here, meaning that the values for incompletely covered zip codes are under-reported.

The tab Small_Building_Suitability contains estimates of the number of small buildings and the percentage of those buildings that have at least some area that is suitable for rooftop PV, for all zip codes in the contiguous US. Where lidar data was not available, a model was used to estimate the data. Estimates for medium and large buildings were not produced at the zip code level, because of insufficient input data.
- Originated 11/05/2019 by National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

5 Resources

 NameSizeTypeResource Description
 Rooftop_PV_Technical_Potential.xlsx5628402dataRooftop PV technical potential estimates
 Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United Statesimage_documentCorresponding technical report


NREL energy data rooftop photovoltaic PV technical potential


•  NOV  • 5 2019

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

by , 303.384.7315, Center 6A20



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Cite this dataset:

Gagnon, Pieter et al. (2019): Rooftop Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

About this dataset

id 121
DOI 10.7799/1575064
Pub Number 65298
status Publicly accessible
last updated soon

DOE Project

GO28308 Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic Technical Potential in the United States: A Detailed Assessment

Research Areas

  • Energy Analysis
  • Energy Systems Integration
  • Grid Modernization
  • Solar Power

Additional Subjects

  • Photovoltaics
  • Solar Energy

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