Cover: Incentivizing Solar

Incentivizing Solar

Catalyzing Solar Energy Technology Adoption to Address the Challenge of Climate Change

Published Jul 14, 2021

by Liam Regan, Brian Wong, Benjamin Lee Preston, Aimee E. Curtright

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The U.S. energy landscape has changed markedly, and solar power is rapidly growing as a sector: In 2021, solar power is expected to make up 39 percent of new installed generation capacity. In this Perspective, the authors provide an overview of the U.S. solar energy market, the rapid changes that it has undergone over the past decade, and the challenges that lie ahead as the broader energy system evolves. In addition, they examine different incentives for increasing solar power and the roles that different stakeholders, particularly the federal government, play in incentivizing solar markets. The authors explore the potential implications of these incentives for different solar technologies and private-sector business models and identify characteristics of federal incentives that are consistent with the objective of achieving deep decarbonization of the U.S. economy. They also explore the reliability and resiliency of solar power, its co-benefits for the jobs market, and its availability to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

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This RAND Perspective was sponsored by the Amicus Solar Cooperative. The research was conducted in the Community Health and Environmental Policy Program within RAND Social and Economic Well-Being.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

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