U.S. Department of Energy

Policy and Regulatory Environment

Photo of a man speaking while seated at a table with men and women surrounding him.

Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado and current director of the Center for the New Energy Economy, leads a Clean Energy Policy Landscape workshop at the 2012 Clean Energy Forum. Photo from Dennis Schroeder, NREL PIX 20590

A favorable policy and regulatory environment is a critical precursor to the development of vibrant solar electric markets, even in the presence of dramatically reduced technology costs. At the federal, state, and local levels, a complex set of interdependent policies define the extent to which renewable energy markets are able to develop and thrive.

DOE has identified the following key barriers to solar market development:

  • Restrictive interconnection and net metering rules
  • Regulatory uncertainty regarding photovoltaic (PV) financing mechanisms, including third-party ownership, community solar, and property-assessed financing
  • Absence of renewable portfolio standards
  • PV siting restrictions in local codes, ordinances, and covenants.

Current Efforts

Below are examples of awardees, funded by SunShot, that are working to overcome the most significant policy and regulatory barriers:

These awardees are working to lower barriers to make solar more accessible for Americans.