100 million households will rely on solar roofs by 2030

At least 190 GW of new solar roof contracts will be installed by the end of 2023.

Author - IEA

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The number of households relying on solar PV grows from 25 million today to more than 100 million by 2030 in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE Scenario). At least 190 GW will be installed from 2022 each year and this number will continue to rise due to increased competitiveness of PV and the growing appetite for clean energy sources.

Of the 1 TW installed, roughly 40% represents distributed PV installations out of which more than one-third are in the residential sector. Around 130 GW of PV systems are deployed by households, which account for approximately 25 million units.

This number should be increased fourfold and around the year 2030 the total number of units will reach 100 million. This could be achieved by maintaining today’s yearly installations rate.

As households increasingly shift to electricity for heating and cooling (mainly due to heat pump deployment) and electric mobility, the need for local embedded electricity production will increase


Already today, solar PV significantly contributes to reducing carbon emissions globally. The latest Trends in Photovoltaics Applications report from the IEA Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS) showed that installed PV capacity at the end of 2020 saved more than 860 million tons of CO2 and it is estimated that the gigatonne (Gt) threshold was reached in 2021.

Next to utility-scale installations, distributed applications on buildings are contributing significantly to PV use of around 40% globally. With different competitiveness conditions, rooftop-based applications are easing the burden on the distribution grids, allowing companies and households to lower their electricity bills and contribute to reducing carbon emissions. This can be eased further by the integration of on-site energy storage systems.

To fully decarbonise the electricity sector, solar PV will have to be installed everywhere possible, starting with buildings. Households are essential in this development, with levels of competitiveness that mostly depend on electricity prices and taxes. The competitiveness of utility-scale installations depends on wholesale electricity prices, which in general are significantly lower.

Hence, developing new PV on building rooftops, especially for households, will contribute decisively to decarbonise the electricity sector thanks to smart self-consumption policies, new business models for cross-cutting applications like electric mobility, solar-based heating and cooling (through heat pumps, direct heating or PVT collectors ), and emerging applications.

Current state

Rooftop applications with solar PV are already mainstream and quickly expanding thanks to innovative business models (such as net billing mixing self-consumption and surplus feed in tariff for prosumers). PV on roofs for households have been developed from the early days of the PV market boom in several countries such as Germany and Italy, while others such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Japan also now have deep market concentration.

The cost of equipment and installation has dropped more than 80% in the last decade and currently rooftop PV systems for households can be installed for around USD 1 per watt, which is a very competitive price.

New business models are developing to complement the buying of a PV system by offering renting or leasing options that provide additional maintenance services and, in some cases, coupled with electricity bills.

In addition, new policy frameworks allow for authorising the sale of PV electricity to third parties or neighbours, as well as compensating production and consumption between different locations.