The newest estimates of U.S. technical potential for renewable energy generation and capacity were reported recently by scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the U.S. Department of Energy research facility.
For the six technologies evaluated, total technical annual generation potential was estimated at 481,800 terawatt-hours and total technical cumulative capacity potential at 212,224 gigawatts. In 2010, aggregate generation sales for all 50 states, according to the report, amounted to roughly 3,754 terawatt-hours.
Texas has approximately 14 percent of the annual U.S. technical generation potential for rural utility-scale PV.
California’s combination of population and sun give it the highest annual technical generation potential for rooftop PV.
Texas has 20 percent of the estimated yearly U.S. generation potential for CSP. There is a sharp distinction between states that have potential and those that don’t because of the relatively high resource minimum threshold of 5 kilowatt-hours per meter-squared per day.