Multilevel governance and deployment of solar PV panels in U.S. cities
Solar photovoltaic (PV) installations have been growing rapidly in the United States over the last few years, incentivized by policies from federal, state and local governments. The complex relationships between solar policies at multiple levels of government and solar deployment are questions of importance to policy makers and scholars. Extant literature on solar policies pays less attention to the role of local governments and policies than to their federal and state counterparts. Local governments and policies play indispensable roles in the deployment of solar PVs. This paper studies the multilevel governance of solar development in the U.S. by evaluating the relative effectiveness of state and local policy tools in stimulating solar PV installations, with an emphasis on local solar policies. With a regression analysis on a national sample of 186 U.S. cities, we find that cities with local financial incentives deploy 69% more solar PV capacities than cities without such policies. We also find that cities subject to RPS requirements have 295% more solar PV capacity, compared with cities not regulated by state RPS.
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