A new study released by UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation shows that Los Angeles County homes are prime real estate for solar installations. In fact, they could potentially offer enough energy to power the whole city—even on days where temperatures (and energy usage) is high.
The Los Angeles Solar Atlas highlights the findings, breaking down the solar potential for this city and several others. It shows that the available roof space (mostly on single-family homes) could be used to generate 19,000 megawatts of power.
To put this in perspective, on extremely hot days the city tends to use about 6,177 megawatts of power. On a normal day it rests somewhere around 5,500 megawatts.
While the findings seem promising, they don’t take a few variables into account, such as areas shaded by trees, or homes that wouldn’t support solar installations. In truth, there is still much research to be done in the field.
Los Angeles, a nightmare city in terms of negative environmental impact, is attempting to wean itself off of nonrenewable energy sources by 2020, making it a prime candidate for more solar installations.
However, it should be noted that solar isn’t the singular solution for such a large issue. In fact, a city can’t rely just on solar for its energy needs because it’s not always reliable. To combat cloudy days, other energy sources must be used, like wind power.
But the findings are still positive. If Los Angeles begins to use even a quarter of its available roof space for solar installations, the result could be huge—even better than desert-destroying projects like the 9,500-acre Blythe Solar Millennium project.
After all, if the structures are already there, why not use them to up LA’s renewable energy potential?
Photo Credit: Kevin Stanchfield via Flickr CC