|Photo by Alex Snyder via FLickr CC-BY-2.0||
Solar energy adoption is on the rise, and public policy has been a key factor in spurring growth in the solar energy sector. In order to keep developing smart public policy, many “value-of-solar” studies have been conducted in an attempt to quantify the monetary value of the benefits (and costs) derived from adding solar to the electric grid. Many studies are sponsored by utilities to support changes in rate structure and often do not account for societal benefits. Consequently, “the narrow scope of those studies leads to undervaluing solar energy and, in turn, justifies policies and electricity rate structures that make it harder to embrace this renewable resource” (Searson, 2019). In fact, the full range of benefits from solar go far beyond the electric grid, and it is crucial that these types of studies account for the full value of solar energy, including societal benefits to the environment and public health, to best serve the public interest (Environment America).