To promote the effective combination of photovoltaic (PV) utilization and urban development, this study proposes that solar PV generation should be taken as an important resource and environmental carrying capacity factor, which is defined as “Photovoltaic Carrying Capacity (PVCC)”, to be integrated into future urban planning. According to the PVCC assessment on global cities, the sensitivity of PVCC to different influence factors is analyzed and the benefits of different optimization strategies on PVCC are also discussed. Additionally, in an equilibrium analysis of PVCC distribution in six sample countries, we discuss both the causes and impact of their distribution gap. That analysis shows that the average PVCC in global urban areas can reach 23.13%, which approaches the anticipated needs of PV development in cities by 2050.Though different optimization strategies may be feasible to promote urban PVCC, they might only make significant changes in medium or large cities. When considering the high-efficient utility of local energy, dispersed layout of cities and population is necessary to implement PV spatial planning. According to the assessment and analysis results, the adjustment suggestions of PV spatial planning in each sample country are also discussed. Finally, it is pointed out that the proactive PV spatial may be of great significance to achieve higher solar energy supply and PVCC will be an available cognition in guiding this planning in the future.
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