This paper assesses the market developments in North Carolina's solar energy industry following the state's adoption of a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). It first reviews how solar renewable electricity certificates (SRECs) are intended to act as a support mechanism for the installation and financing of solar power in North Carolina's RPS compliance market. The paper then analyzes why SRECs have not precipitated growth in the solar industry thus far. Instead of attracting a diversity of solar installation and SREC trading businesses to create a competitive market to North Carolina, the RPS has only enabled a few large solar power producers to compete with utility companies to finance, install, and operate solar generating systems. A comparison between the SREC markets in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey reveals that transparency in prices and volumes of SRECs, limits on utility company self-ownership of solar generators, and more aggressive solar set-aside targets are required to create a competitive market environment that will attract a sustainable and growing solar industry.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2012
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