Incentivizing Solar Energy: An In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Solar Incentives

As part of Consumer Energy Alliance’s (CEA) Solar Energy Future campaign, the organization today released a new report, “Incentivizing Solar Energy: An In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Solar Incentives,” that provides a comprehensive quantification of solar incentives available for U.S. energy consumers. The report analyzes the cost for a typical solar facility in 15 states and details the federal, state, and local incentives available for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV). No previous analysis has ever quantified this data.

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Among the report’s key findings:

• Existing Incentives For Residential Solar PV Are Significant
• Third Party-Owned Solar PV Facilities Receive Significant Incentives
• Existing Incentives May Change the Economics of Future Investments in Solar
• The NEM Incentive Shifts Costs onto Less Affluent Customers
• Incentives For Residential Solar PV Vary Widely Among The States

The report also found that government incentives, combined with utility offered incentives, have reduced residential customers’ net costs of installing rooftop solar systems to record-low levels. These reductions are now so significant that, in many states, total incentives are greater than a solar system’s total costs. In light of these dramatic cost reductions, many states are re-examining the scope and methods surrounding their incentive programs and are now considering programs that rely more on a competitive marketplace to provide the economically optimal levels of rooftop solar adoption.

“As the technology continues to advance, solar energy is becoming an even more incredibly powerful and cost-competitive technology that has the potential to change the face of American energy both today and in the future,” said Michael Whatley, Executive Vice President of CEA. “Solar brings with it tremendous benefits for all consumers. Solar’s deployment has been truly remarkable as growth rates have exceeded 40% a year for the past five years.”

Whatley added: “As solar energy continues to progress as a larger slice of America’s all-of-the-above energy pie, we hope that CEA’s new report will help yield pro-solar, pro-grid and pro-consumer policies to ensure the proliferation of solar technology, the continued efficiency of a robust electric grid, and increased access to clean, renewable, affordable, and reliable energy sources for all American consumers.”

The report analyzed the incentives for solar in a cross section of states including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and North Carolina. This report relies on public data and a relatively analytical, conservative approach to quantify the most common incentives for solar energy. To review the full results of this analysis and a copy of the report, please visit solarenergyfuture.org.

To read the executive summary, please click here.

For the full report, please click here.

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