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The Role of Government Policy in the Development of Solar Photovoltaic Power: Project Overview

Published: May, 2011

In late 2010, CPI began a study of the impact of national and international policy on the development of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technology. A full report, including region-specific analysis, is expected this summer.

PROJECT MOTIVATIONS

CPI selected Solar PV as one of its first global analytic efforts for a number of reasons:

  • The technical potential of PV is large enough to make a significant contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation goals;
  • PV costs have decreased substantially, in part as a direct and indirect result of government policies;
  • PV costs must come down further to become cost competitive with conventional energy sources, a major step toward reaching PV’s potential.

CPI’s focus in this project has been on the effectiveness of policy in helping PV reach its technical potential. More specifically, the focus has been the impact of policy in driving down the cost of energy from PV, as cost is the single most important obstacle standing in the way of PV’s potential. In this project overview, we address several of the major questions that policymakers face in their effort to make PV more cost competitive. We then set out the framework under which we have begun to analyze these questions.