Effectiveness of State-Level Policies on Solar Market Development in Different State Contexts

Darlene Steward, Daniel Hillman

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


In response to public interest in customer-sited distributed solar photovoltaics (PV), state and local policymakers have implemented policy initiatives with the goal of encouraging private investment and building a robust PV market. Policymakers face challenges, including limited budgets and incomplete information about the effectiveness of the various policy options in their specific situation,in crafting and executing policy that supports market development goals. Recent work investigated the effect of the order in which policies are implemented (referred to as 'policy stacking') and the presence of low-cost enabling policies, such as interconnection standards and net metering, can have on the success of states in promoting PV markets. Findings indicate that implementation of interconnection standards and policy related to the valuation of excess electricity (e.g., net metering), along with indicators of long term government support for a solar PV market (e.g., RPS) and a non-policy determinant (population), explain about 70% of the variation among states in new PV capacity. This paper builds on that research to determine the most effective policy strategies for different types of states, as determined by their physical, demographic and macroeconomic context. A number of researchers have investigated the effectiveness of state-level policy using various statistical methods to determine relationships between installed solar PV projects and policy initiatives. In this study, the grouping of states by non-policy factors adds dimension to these analyses byidentifying how policies function in different non-policy environments.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages60
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-7A40-61029


  • market support strategies
  • policy impact
  • policy strategies


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