Evaluating decentralized energy investments: Spatial value of on-site PV electricity

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Abstract

Today solar power is still dominantly presented to be expensive source of electricity. However, the profitability of solar and other electricity generation technologies is typically evaluated with the Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE) approach. This paper questions the traditional investment evaluation logics of power production (LCOE) in the interesting case of rooftop PVs and based on customer value generation logics presents a new approach for evaluating the profitability of rooftop PV investments. The approach recognizes the value that PVs produce to real estate owners and utilize basic real estate investment models to evaluate the profitability of PVs. The results imply that, if PVs are considered as a part of the underlying property, rooftop PV systems are already today profitable in many European cities and can provide substantial returns on investment for property owners. More interestingly, the results imply that rooftop PV investments are most profitable in the dense urban cores instead of more remote (industrial) locations, and thus the current trend of urbanization seems to further strengthen the profitability of rooftop solar power. This paper points out that spatial locations drive the economic analysis of real estate, and thus it is likely that it will drive the economic analysis of decentralized on-site energy investments as well.

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217–1222
Number of pages6
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Volume70
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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