Do RPS and/or FIT Encourage or Limit Renewables/Solar, What Do You Think?


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Source: N.C. Solar Center at N.C. State University, Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (accessed July 2012). (Correction: Amended source corrects the source listed in original publication of February 3, 2012.) Note: The map includes West Virginia as a State with a Renewable Portfolio Standard, although the Interstate Renewable Energy Council categorizes it as a goal State rather than an RPS State.

I came across a video with Ralph Nader‘s commenting on Feed-In-Tariff, uploaded by Paul Kangas at paul8kangas, below:

In the video, Ralph Nader (the famous consumer advocate) referred to FIT(Feed-In-Tariff) as price based whereas RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) as quota based.


This led to a discussion between myself and another Renewable advocate on whether RPS will limit renewables. Folks, here is my response, below:

I don’t think RPS will limit renewables. It does, however, set the minimum mandatory goal for renewables. For example, a student who wants to at least pass all of his/her courses may end up getting a straight A. But a student who doesn’t even have a goal or desire to pass any or all of the courses is far more likely to fail one or all of his/her classes. Without any goal/RPS, that is why state of Florida is not leading in solar deployment. I’d much rather that FL has RPS than nothing. I’d much rather that FL has both RPS and FIT. But as the cost of solar continues to drop and improvement in storage technology increases, there will be more solar deployments even without any RPS or FIT.

Based on a study by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory), FIT  (Feed-In-Tariff) and RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) can coexist beautifully.

I think before asking anything, we seriously need to find out what the true Value of Solar and/or the true Value of Wind is in order to decide what FIT rate needs to be asked. I don’t think we would want to set the FIT rate below the true Value of Solar or Wind (because then we’ll have clean energy subsidizing the dirty energy). I think Karl R. Rabago has been working on Value of Solar for quite some time and gives a very good presentation in this interview: and the synopsis of the Value of Solar is in I wonder if the true Value of Wind has been figured out at this point. At this point in time, there may be sufficient data and technology to enable the algorithm for Value of Wind or Value of Biofuel or Value of Geothermal to be worked out for different regions.

Finally, I am optimistic that the planet earth, as a whole, is heading in the right direction-transitioning into the Renewable Energy Age. As long as Northern Hemisphere manages to stay away from any serious global military confrontation, the planet earth will reach Renewable Energy Age, slowly but surely.  Of course, I would have liked to see Florida to be at least in the top 3 or 5 of the solar deployment states within USA, given that we are number 3 in terms of population and we do have the name of Sunshine State. This is much more likely to occur if Florida implements both FIT and RPS, I believe. What do you think? This keeps me motivated in learning and posting about solar/renewable energy.

~have a bright and sunny day~

sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Written, gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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