CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

It’s Always Sunny in America: Renewable Energy Policy and the Solar Economy

Casey S. Libonate 9783024670, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Daniel Gillion

Date of this Version: 04 April 2016



Renewable energy, especially solar, has become increasingly popular over the past two decades. It is clear that the United States must take a stand to decrease carbon emissions and its related impact on the environment and climate change. What is not clear, however, is whether this increase in popularity has been due to policies implemented by the government or more traditionally market supply and demand. Taking a broad historical approach I examine relevant renewable energy policies since 1978 and the impact these polices have had on fostering the solar energy market. I argue that that favorable renewable energy policies have allowed for the creation of the current solar energy economy. For this to be true, I would expect to see the fastest growth in the solar energy market on the tail of favorable policies. This thesis has found numerical and anecdotal evidence showing that there is a connection between federal policies and growth-promoting investments in solar energy. I therefore conclude by providing policy recommendations to keep the solar economy growing in a similar fashion.

Suggested Citation

Libonate, Casey S. 9783024670, "It’s Always Sunny in America: Renewable Energy Policy and the Solar Economy" 04 April 2016. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 20 June 2016




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