Determination of Appropriate Target Audience for Distributed Solar Generation among US Residential and Commercial Customers

Gokturk Poyrazoglu, Jennifer L. Zirnheld, and Kevin M. Burke


Solar Distributed Generation, Solar Policies, Target Audience


This study tries to determine the appropriate target audience for small-scale distributed solar generation in 30 big cities across the US. Residential customers are divided into subgroups according to floor space of a housing unit. Commercial customers are divided into subgroups according to the sector of service they are in. Consumption data of residential and commercial customers are gathered from selected variables of The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) from 2009 and The Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) from 2003 respectively. Typical hourly solar radiation data, which is required to compute annual solar energy generation, is obtained from the average of the hourly solar radiation data from the 3-year span from 2003-2005 as reported by the US Government. The most appropriate target groups are found by using a comparison of consumption and generation per sq.ft. data. The results are illustrated in eight figures for four census divisions. Religious and warehouse establishments are identified as the entities that stand to benefit the most in the commercial sector from distributed generation (DG) in all census divisions. Housing units having between 1,000 and 1,500 square feet are found as the most likely to benefit in the residential sector. Implications for tailored DG policy and marketing interventions are discussed in relation to the findings of this study.

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