Department or Program

Environmental Studies


Current U.S. energy trends place the development of renewable energy sources behind the development of fossil fuels such as natural gas. In order to slow the effects of climate change through a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions some sort of energy transition towards renewables is likely part of the solution. Solar power is a primary source of renewable energy that can be applied at both the on-site household scale and at the larger utility scale. Renewable portfolio standards (RPS), net metering, solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs), the federal tax credit, and other tax incentives and cash rebates are some of the most popular U.S. policy tools for promoting the deployment of solar photovoltaics (PV). Past studies have shown positive effects on market deployment for solar PV. This paper seeks to differentiate between states and pull out any recognizable patterns or trends. Primary findings include a positive correlation between spending and overall solar deployment as well as higher levels of solar development with the presence of an RPS. Higher levels of deployment were also seen in states with SREC markets. Additionally, solar generation increased rapidly after 2010 in well-developed solar states, which was hypothesized to be related to the approaching roll back of the federal tax credit. This study proposes that the current financial incentives are effective in spurring the expansion of the solar market to different degrees in different states.

Level of Access

Restricted: Archival Copy [No Access]

First Advisor

Holly Ewing

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file