Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Steve Vanderheiden

Second Advisor

Dale Miller

Third Advisor

Sarah Rogers

Abstract

The energy landscape is rapidly changing with the emergence of cost-competitive renewable energy technologies and incentives for their adoption. Distributed solar energy incentives in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boulder have had significant impacts on the solar capacity of the cities. By analyzing their cost-effectiveness (kW installed per incentive dollar received), it is evident that the Los Angeles Solar Incentive Program and GoSolarSF program have successfully increased the adoption of distributed solar systems while decreasing the incentive money given to applicants. I find that the cost-effectiveness of the LA SIP and GoSolarSF program have increased over the past decade. The Boulder Solar Grant program cost-effectiveness has remained relatively constant. I attribute the increase in cost-effectiveness in the Los Angeles Solar Incentive Program and GoSolarSF program to the decreasing cost of installed solar panels and increased efficiency of multi-crystalline silicon modules. By running linear regressions, it is evident that the cost-effectiveness of the LA SIP and GoSolarSF program are strongly correlated with these variables.

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