Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period

4-17-2016

Degree Program

Resource Economics

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2016

Month Degree Awarded

May

Abstract

Growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions as well as electricity prices have led to more serious efforts by the state and federal government to provide promote renewable energy at affordable costs. I examine the effect of policies and incentives on added commercial solar PV capacity while controlling for pro-environmental preferences, energy prices, geographic controls, and demographic controls. I use county-level data that spans twelve northeastern states and the District of Columbia from 2005 through 2013. I utilize the Tobit estimator to account for a mass point of solar PV capacity at zero kilowatts. The results suggest that loans, performance-based incentives, rebates, sales tax waivers, and net metering standards increase the amount of added solar PV capacity. Solar Renewable Energy credits have a small impact on PV capacity growth, while interconnection standard and renewable portfolio standards are not statistically significant. If policy administrators aim to increase the amount of commercial solar PV, then they should consider loans, rebates, and performance-based incentives as the most effective policies.

First Advisor

Christine L Crago

Second Advisor

Bernard J Morzuch

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