Global RE Opportunity Tool (Beta Version): A Tool for Policymakers and Energy Analysts

The Center developed the Global RE Opportunity Tool to assist policymakers and analysts in understanding the size and location of market opportunities for cost-effective deployment of solar technologies under different cost scenarios. It enables quick, intuitive analysis and visualization of the technical potential, economic opportunity, and market size for a variety of solar technologies ranging from residential rooftop systems to utility-scale installations. We are developing the tool as a web-based GIS application to assist policymakers and analysts around the world in evaluating opportunities for increased solar deployment. The beta version of the tool provides various data sets at the country level.

To launch the tool in a new browser window or tab, click here.

Tool Features

The Global RE Opportunity Tool allows users to answer the following questions:

  • What is the scale of the potential market opportunity for rooftop and utility scale PV development in my country under different cost scenarios (ranging from $1/Watt to $5/Watt installed cost)?
  • What are payback periods for PV system purchases in my country (and sub-regions for larger countries)?
  • What regions of my country hold the greatest promise for PV development?
  • What policies and measures are being applied to advance solar deployment across countries?
  • What is the relative scale of PV opportunities across countries?

Future features will include:

  • Tools to estimate how market potential and underlying economic payback varies with financial policy incentives
  • Improved and more granular (including sub-national) data
  • Other new ideas suggested by users.

The tool allows users to view country-level analysis of parameters of interest. Enhancements are underway to allow users to conduct tailored analysis by changing the geographic area of interest or by inputting their own data as refinements to the default data currently utilized by the tool.

Methodology and Data Sources

The Solutions Center has compiled input data for the tool from a variety of sources, including solar radiation data from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), residential electricity rates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and International Energy Agency (IEA), building rooftop area from the IEA, and policy data from the IEA and NREL.

While we have made an effort to gather the most up-to-date and accurate data, we welcome your suggestions for improvements. This tool is meant to evolve over time and through user input. To submit your suggestions or questions, join in Global RE Opportunity Tool discussion forums and training opportunities on the Clean Energy Solutions Center or contact us at global.re.opp@nrel.gov.

Example Tool Output Displaying Estimated PV Rooftop Potential by Country
(assumes $1/watt installed PV cost)

screenshot of Global Solar Opportunity Tool

See the full version of the map. See also this reference (PDF) for more information about the tool's technical scope, data sources, calculations, limitations, and future versions.

For more information, contact us or see:

  • Fact Sheet: A Tool for Policymakers (PDF)
  • Examples of Map Products from the Tool (PDF)
  • Data Sources and Analysis Methodology (PDF)

For more information on solar and wind resource potential around the world, see the Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy, which being developed by the Clean Energy Ministerial and the International Renewable Energy Agency.