Libonate, Casey S

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  • Publication
    It’s Always Sunny in America: Renewable Energy Policy and the Solar Economy
    (2016-04-04) Libonate, Casey S
    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.