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.
Regan, Liam, Brian Wong, Benjamin Lee Preston, and Aimee E. Curtright, Incentivizing Solar: Catalyzing Solar Energy Technology Adoption to Address the Challenge of Climate Change. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2021. https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1372-1.html.
Regan, Liam, Brian Wong, Benjamin Lee Preston, and Aimee E. Curtright, Incentivizing Solar: Catalyzing Solar Energy Technology Adoption to Address the Challenge of Climate Change, RAND Corporation, PE-A1372-1, July 2021. As of December 7, 2023: https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PEA1372-1.html