Learning by Doing: The Evolution of State Support for Photovoltaics

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Fifteen states have established "clean energy funds" that will collect more than $3 billion in aggregate from ratepayers over the next decade. The general mission of these funds is to support the development of renewable energy technologies and markets; all of the funds target the installation of photovoltaics (PV) in one way or another. So-called "buy-down" programs – i.e., programs that offset the high up-front costs of PV through capital grants or rebates – have been the most popular approach taken to date in supporting PV. At present, however, state clean energy funds appear to be evolving into a new phase of supporting PV – one that draws upon lessons learned from the past few years 'experience with the first round of buy-down programs. This paper briefly discusses these lessons from the past and describes how various states are tweaking, rearranging, or crafting new programs to incorporate those lessons.

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