SunShot 2030 for Photovoltaics (PV): Envisioning a Low-cost PV Future

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In this report we summarize the implications, impacts, and deployment potential of reaching the SunShot 2030 targets for the electricity system in the contiguous United States. We model 25 scenarios of the U.S. power sector using the Regional Energy Deployment Systems (ReEDS) and Distributed Generation (dGen) capacity expansion models. The scenarios cover a wide range of sensitivities to capture future uncertainties relating to fuel prices, retirements, renewable energy capital costs, and load growth. We give special attention to the potential for storage costs to also rapidly decline due to its large synergies with low-cost solar. The ReEDS and dGen models project utility- and distributed-scale power sector evolution, respectively, for the United States. Both models have been designed with special emphasis on capturing the unique traits of renewable energy, including variability and grid integration requirements. Across the suite of scenarios modeled, we find that reaching the SunShot 2030 target has the potential to lead to significant capacity additions of PV in the United States. By 2050, PV penetration levels are projected to reach 28-46 percent of total generation. If storage also sees significant reductions in cost, then the 2050 solar penetration levels could reach 41-64 percent. PV deployment is projected to occur in all of the lower 48 states, though the specific deployment level is scenario dependent. The growth in PV is projected to be dominated by utility-scale systems, but the actual mix between utility and distributed systems could ultimately vary depending on how policies, system costs, and rate structures evolve.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages82
StatePublished - 2017

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A20-68105


  • battery storage
  • capacity expansion
  • electricity sector
  • photovoltaics
  • projection
  • ReEDS
  • solar PV
  • SunShot


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