Completed Projects: Researching Key Legal Issues to Support Solar Expansion

From 2008 to 2010, the GW Solar Institute supported a research team led by former GW Solar Institute Co-Director Debra Jacobson, Lee Paddock, Associate Dean for Environmental Studies at the GW Law School, and David Grinlinton, a former GW Law Visiting Professor from the University of Auckland, which conducted a major review of solar energy related legal issues. The report highlighted how the legal framework for solar energy has a major impact on the viability of solar electric generation facilities of all sizes. Some of the critical legal questions related to solar energy analyzed in the report include the:

  • impediments to the adoption of feed-in tariffs;
  • role of Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards in supporting solar energy development;
  • regulatory barriers for public utilities;
  • siting of transmission lines;
  • effect of land use and zoning regulations; and
  • value of government procurement provisions.

The study reviewed all of these issues in the United States and for several of the issues, in other countries—Germany, Spain, Japan, China, and Australia.

Dean Paddock presented the results of his research on feed-in tariffs at an energy symposium sponsored by the University of Toledo Law School in March 2010. In addition, the University of Toledo Law Review published a related law review article co-authored by Dean Paddock and David Grinlinton.