Clean Energy Policy Basics
States and local communities can create policy strategies to help them achieve their clean energy goals. To create effective strategies, it's helpful to understand how to build a clean energy policy portfolio and the different types of policies.
Clean Energy Policy Portfolios
Single policies don't transform markets for a clean energy economy in states and localities. The most effective approach is to apply a suite of policies in succession—from policies that prepare and create the market to those directed towards market expansion and saturation. To build such a policy portfolio at the state and local level, NREL analysts suggest using a framework that considers:
- Policy types
- Different mixes of technologies.
For more information about NREL's suggested framework, see State and Local Clean Energy Policy Primer: Getting from Here to Clean Electricity with Policy.
Clean Energy Policy Types
At the state and local level, the following policies are designed to meet specific clean energy goals.
Community solar, also known as shared solar or solar gardens, is a solar energy deployment model that allows customers to buy or lease part of an offsite shared solar PV system. Learn more.
A feed-in tariff is an energy-supply policy focused on supporting the development of new renewable power generation. Learn more.
Low- and Moderate-Income Solar Policy Basics
States are leading the charge in identifying and piloting various approaches to bring the benefits of solar power to low- and moderate-income consumers. Learn more.
Renewable Energy Rebates
States, utilities, and a few local governments offer rebates to promote the installation of renewable energy technologies. Learn more.
Renewable Fuel Standards
A renewable fuel standard mandates the increased development of renewable fuels, such as biofuels. Learn more.
Renewable Portfolio Standards
Renewable portfolio standards require utilities to use renewable energy or renewable energy credits to account for a certain percentage of their retail electricity sales — or a certain amount of generating capacity — according to a specified schedule. Learn more.
Solar Requests for Proposals
State and local governments issue solar RFPs to select a solar developer who is qualified to design, procure, install, and/or commission a photovoltaic project. Learn more.
A value-of-solar (VOS) tariff is a rate design policy that gives customers with solar installations credit for the electricity generated by a photovoltaic PV system. Learn more.
The following resources provide more information on state and local clean energy policies:
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
- So You Have Questions About...Interconnection & Net Metering: Resources & Technical Assistance
- So You Have Questions About...Renewable Portfolio Standards: Resources & Technical Assistance
- So You Have Questions About...Financing Mechanisms
- So You Have Questions About... Value of Solar Tariffs
- Distributed Solar PV for Electricity System Resiliency: Policy and Regulatory Considerations
- Advanced Inverter Functions to Support High Levels of Distributed Solar: Policy and Regulatory Considerations
- Community Shared Solar: Policy and Regulatory Considerations
- Distributed Solar Photovoltaics for Electric Vehicle Charging: Regulatory and Policy Considerations