Rooftop Solar Panels Could Power a Third of U.S. Manufacturing, Study Finds

Manufacturing in the US uses a lot of energy, but there’s still untapped potential for solar energy in the sector, new research shows. A learn investigated how installing solar panels at production sites could meet a third of the electricity needs of this sector.

Researchers used a Department of Energy survey and compared states to see where rooftop solar arrays could best provide electricity needs for manufacturing. She found that companies focused on textiles, apparel and furniture would benefit most from the switch to solar energy. Her work is published in the journal Environmental Research: Sustainability and Infrastructure.

Matthew Eckelman, an associate professor at Northeastern University, told Earther that he and other researchers used the DOE survey to find regional estimates of “how much electricity each type of manufacturing uses per unit area.” You determined it that says in the southwest including Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico enough sunlight to hit a large part of it energy demand. During the spring and summer months, some businesses could use solar energy for The study found that they meet up to 40% of their electricity needs.

Eckelman said solar power is a viable option because so many manufacturing sites have flat roofs and sprawling facilities that have plenty of it space for panels. The cost of installing panels has increased decreased over time, which lowered some of the barriers to using it as an energy source. But, Despite the potential from renewable energy sources, “less than 0.1% of electricity needs.” [the] “Manufacturing is currently generated on-site from renewable sources,” it says the study.

Decarbonizing this sector could save a significant amount of emissions for the country and the world. In 2021 industrial activities were responsible for 23% of US carbon emissions after to the environmental protection agency. “If you have this made…“When cold rooms are required or a lot of ventilation and air purification is required, it’s just very energy intensive,” Eckelman said.

He’s optimistic the more Manufacturer in the US will begin to take advantage of energy-Potential savings from solar modules on roofs – e.gEspecially now that many states are setting deadlines for moving away from fossil fuels.

“There are guidelines at the state level that allow for the installation of solar PV on rooftops,” Eckelman said. “There are more companies doing this. So there’s this kind of neighbor effect, where you see your competitors and your neighbors in an industrial area do this and even make some money from it.”

Interested in more climate and environmental stories? Check out Earther’s guides Decarbonizing your home, Phasing out fossil fuels, Pack a disaster bagAnd Overcome climate anxiety. And don’t miss our coverage of it current IPCC climate reportthe future of carbon dioxide removaland the non-greenwashed facts about it bioplastics And plastic recycling.

Zack Zwiezen

Zack Zwiezen is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Zack Zwiezen joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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