Comparing Solar Electric Policies in the U.S.

Date: 16 Feb 2005 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Top notch researchers, Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger, from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab have presented estimates showing how solar electric power goals established in California will beat the expected PV installations in six states (and Washington DC) that have solar power requirements as part of their renewable energy portfolio standards.

In their report, “Projecting the Impact of State Portfolio Standards on Solar Installations,” the authors found that existing solar set-asides (not including California) may create demand for 180-337 MW of solar PV capacity by 2010. As of late 2004, California had 88 MW of installed solar electric capacity and a goal for 3,000 MW of solar capacity by 2018. The authors project that the other six states and Washington, DC, will have a solar market of between 553-792 MW in 2018.

Solar Set Aside Goals (non-California)
Arizona – 0.66% solar by 2007
Colorado – 0.4% solar by 2015 (half from customer-sited projects)
New Jersey – 0.16% solar by 2008
Pennsylvania – 0.5% solar PV by 2020
Nevada – 0.75% solar by 2013
New York – 0.1542% customer-sited PV, fuel cells, wind by 2013
Washington DC – 0.386% solar by 2021

The chart below from the presentation shows that California’s 2004 generation from solar is comparably modest in terms of the state’s population and electric load. But the future growth of solar power in California increases the electricity per capita from just over .1 percent to 2.4 percent (see chart below).


  • Full Presentation: Projecting the Impact of State Portfolio Standards on Solar Installations – Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, January 20, 2005 [powerpoint]
  • New Rules Project’s section on Renewable PortfolioStandards
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John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.