Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) Model: Documentation and Sample Results

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) model is a bottom-up, market penetration model that simulates the potential adoption of photovoltaics (PV) on residential and commercial rooftops in the continental United States through 2030. NREL developed SolarDS to examine the market competitiveness of PV based on regional solar resources, capital costs, electricity prices, utility rate structures, andfederal and local incentives. The model uses the projected financial performance of PV systems to simulate PV adoption for building types and regions then aggregates adoption to state and national levels. The main components of SolarDS include a PV performance simulator, a PV annual revenue calculator, a PV financial performance calculator, a PV market share calculator, and a regional aggregator. The model simulates a variety of installed PV capacity for a range of user-specified input parameters. PV market penetration levels from 15 to 193 GW by 2030 were simulated in preliminary model runs. SolarDS results are primarily driven by three model assumptions: (1) future PV cost reductions, (2) the maximum PV market share assumed for systems with given financial performance, and (3) PVfinancing parameters and policy-driven assumptions, such as the possible future cost of carbon emissions.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages63
StatePublished - 2009

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A2-45832


  • annual revenues
  • electricity prices
  • federal incentives
  • financial performance calculator
  • local incentives
  • market competitiveness
  • market model
  • market penetration
  • model results
  • photovoltaics (PV)
  • PV
  • PV capacity
  • PV systems
  • regional solar resources
  • solar capital costs
  • solar deployment system
  • utility rate structures


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