Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Joseph W Kantenbacher


The aim of this thesis is to analyze state-specific Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to understand their design and spillover effect onto non-utility (commercial, residential, industrial) sectors. Past research has overlooked non-utility sectors, often focusing on overall renewable energy growth and electricity generation from a combined end-result perspective. Solar capacity and solar generated electricity data from 5 states are used to establish which non-utility sectors experienced the highest level of solar growth from RPSs and related policies between 2010 and 2019. An explanatory sequential design is utilized, where interrupted time series analyses and exploratory case studies are performed to analyze each policy’s effectiveness at increasing solar growth (measured in capacity or electricity generation). It was concluded that the commercial sector experienced the highest level of solar growth of the sectors analyzed. In addition, policies regarding net metering, aggregate net metering, and Solar Renewable Energy Credits were found to significantly increase solar growth in the commercial sector. The residential sector was found to only exhibit significant solar growth from financial incentives, while the industrial sector displayed no significant solar growth from the RPS policies analyzed. The findings of this research can help influence future renewable energy policy designs and act as a vehicle for research on other renewable energy sources.

Subject Categories

Oil, Gas, and Energy


Non-utility sector, Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Policy, Renewable Portfolio Standard, Solar, Sustainability

Number of Pages



University of South Dakota



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