Supporting Photovoltaics in Market-Rate Residential New Construction: A Summary of Programmatic Experience to Date and Lessons Learned

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

This paper, prepared by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory for CESA, describes early efforts by state clean energy funds to support the deployment of PV in new, market-rate homes. We focus on the activities of clean energy funds in nine states that have funded specific projects and/or have offered targeted programs for PV in market-rate residential new construction. We also include in our review several other state or local organizations whose efforts are particularly noteworthy or have some direct bearing on the efforts of clean energy funds in the same state – however, we do not attempt to comprehensively review the activities of entities other than state clean energy funds. The overall objectives of this paper are to (1) briefly describe efforts to date to support PV in market-rate residential new construction, and (2) identify key issues and lessons learned that have emerged from these experiences. Information about these topics was obtained through interviews with program managers and from publicly available documentation describing program design and results. Although experience with PV in this market segment remains too limited at this time to provide a comprehensive design guide, our hope is that this report will help clean energy fund administrators and others in their efforts to modify existing programs or develop new programs to encourage adoption of PV in market-rate residential new construction. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. In the next section, we present a brief overview of the general types of strategies that state clean energy funds have pursued to support PV in new, market-rate homes. We then describe the specific programs and experiences in nine states where clean energy funds (and others) have provided targeted support for this market segment. Drawing on the experiences in these nine states, we then identify key issues for initiatives aimed at supporting PV in market-rate residential construction, and discuss how program administrators have sought to address them. Finally, we conclude with a set of recommendations for clean energy funds or other organizations seeking to grow the residential new construction market for PV.

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Date: February 1, 2006

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