Supporting Solar Power in Renewables Portfolio Standards: Experience from the United States

October 1, 2010

by Ryan Wiser and Galen Barbose (LBNL) for DOE, NREL, and CESA

This report documents the design of and early experience with state-level RPS programs in the United States that have been specifically tailored to encourage a wider diversity of renewable energy technologies, and solar energy in particular. As shown, state-level RPS programs specifically designed to support solar have already proven to be an important, albeit somewhat modest, driver for solar energy deployment, and those impacts are projected to continue to build in the coming years. State experience in supporting solar energy with RPS programs is mixed, however, and full compliance with existing requirements has not been achieved. The comparative experiences described in this new report highlight the opportunities and challenges of applying an RPS to specifically support solar energy, as well as the importance of policy design details to ensuring that program goals are achieved.

This report was prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and the Clean Energy States Alliance.