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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rooftop solar incentives remain effective for low- and moderate-income adoption


Financial incentives for rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption have declined in the United States over time by policy design. Incentive phase-down can efficiently promote early adoption and avoid ineffective payments to late adopters. However, incentive phase-down may exclude low- and moderate-income (LMI) households from realizing the same financial benefits from PV adoption as high-income early adopters. Here, data from two state-level LMI PV incentive programs are analyzed to test whether incentives still drive PV adoption among LMI households. As a first order approximation, the analysis suggests that incentives drove adoption that would not otherwise have happened in about 80% of cases. To the extent that policymakers prioritize PV adoption equity as part of the emerging energy justice policy agenda, the results suggest that ongoing incentive support for LMI adoption may be merited.

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