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Midmarket Solar Policies in the United States

In the United States, the solar photovoltaic (PV) market has experienced rapid growth in the past five years. However, growth has stagnated in the midsized solar market, or "midmarket," which mainly consists of PV installations in the non-residential and non-utility segments. To help prospective solar customers understand and use the policies of their state for midsized solar projects, NREL provides an inventory of policies for each state. This inventory is part of NREL's work to expand the midscale solar market.

A chart shows annual PV installations by sector for three sectors: residential, non-residential, and utility. The non-residential curve is surpassed by the utility curve in 2011 and by the residential curve in 2014. By 2015, the last year on the chart, the non-residential curve shows the lowest annual rate of PV installations.

U.S. annual PV installations by sector in megawatts (MWdc). The midsized solar market has not grown at the same pace as the residential and utility markets.

State- and utility-level policies and mechanisms—including net metering, rebates, solar renewable energy certificates, and loans—have encouraged the growth of the U.S. solar market. At the same time, other state-level policies and mechanisms—such as system capacity limits and exclusions of certain sectors—have hindered market growth in certain segments. An understanding of these basic policy components is important for customers making investment and development decisions. However, the policy environment within each state is often dynamic, and policy environments vary widely between states.

A State-by-State Policy Guide for Midsized Solar Customers

This website is based on the 2016 NREL report Midmarket Solar Policies in the United States: A Guide for Midsized Solar Customers. The guide equips prospective solar customers with the tools necessary to understand and use the solar policies of their state for midmarket solar projects. In this context, midmarket projects are defined as behind-the-meter PV systems with a generation capacity between 50 kilowatts and 2 megawatts.

This inventory serves as an online and up-to-date version of the report's state-by-state summaries. Each state's webpage highlights policy gaps and opportunities in that state's policies that either inhibit or enable midmarket projects.

For a detailed description of the various types of policies tracked on each state webpage—interconnection standards, net metering, user fees, etc.— and their implications, consult the first part of the 2016 report. This website serves as an updated version of the second part of that report, with regular updates as state- and utility-level policies are enacted, modified, or removed.

State Policy Inventory