States across the country have and are implementing programs that help homes, businesses and utilities go solar. Some, like California, Massachusetts and Hawaii have already seen huge successes in increasing the amount of clean solar, wind and other forms of renewable power in their states, while others, like New York and North Carolina are in the midst of drastically increasing the amount of solar power in their grid systems.
What makes these programs successful? The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has just released "The Effect of State Policy Suites on the Development of Solar Markets," an NREL report that looks into how states have implemented successful solar policies. The report found that there’s no catch-all solution, but there are some tell-tale signs. “Their findings indicate that while no standard formula for solar implementation exists, a combination of foundational policies and localized strategies can increase solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in any state,” NREL stated.
There are two policies, however, present in the most successful states—net-metering and interconnection policies. The two policies ensure that customers with solar power can receive credit or payment for the amount of electricity they put back on the grid and that they can actually connect their solar array to the utility’s grid.
For instance, how policies are designed to change over time also have an impact on a state’s success with solar power. Another factor is third-party ownership policies and practices, which allow companies to lease or own the solar on a home or business. While they have an impact favorable economic factors as well as the aforementioned policies are more significant.
The other major factors are the number of policies a state has and the length of time that they have been in place. "We built quantitative evidence showing that, across the board, states with three or more market creation or market enabling policies have the most robust solar markets," said report coauthor Elizabeth Doris, a technical manager for Policy and Technical Assistance at NREL. "This study provides additional insight into how policies should be considered in light of non-policy factors to best support solar market development."
Non-policy factors include the age and composition of policy suites. “Solar policies are more effective when tailored to the economic and demographic background of the state,” NREL said.Tweet