|dc.description.abstract||Numerous states have implemented legislation to advance the use of specific renewable energy resources, most notably solar. However, solar energy is accompanied by several deficiencies – including high costs, limited geographic applicability, and poor efficiency – which make its endorsement perilous. Despite its shortcomings, solar power resources are among the most popular forms of energy in the United States and an increasing number of states are adding provisions to their renewable portfolio standards to support them.
This report includes three detailed investigations to address the viability and impacts associated with solar carve-outs in renewable portfolio standards. In the first investigation, statistical methods are used to characterize and understand those states that have promoted carve-out legislation. In the second investigation, a nationwide differential analysis is performed to assess the economic impacts of large-scale solar energy utilization. Finally, the third investigation provides case studies of several states that have implemented solar energy carve-outs in order to empirically evaluate the economic and environmental impacts of solar carve-out policies.
The results of this study clearly highlight the deficiencies of solar carve-outs. These mandates will lead to billions of dollars in direct costs to ratepayers, increased electric rates, and the release of millions of additional tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Moreover, although more solar energy may ultimately be produced as a result of this legislation, it is not clear that any tangible benefits are derived from it. Thus, rather than specifying a winning technology, state legislators would be better served to instead outline the goals of their renewable energy policy, provide incentives to reach them, and leave the means of realizing the goals to the market.||