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Driving Solar Energy in New York City, Hong Kong & Freiburg

Cohen, Steven Alan; Martinez, Hayley; Schroder, Alix; Osborn, Hilary; Villegas, Catalina

The global demand for energy is predicted to increase by as much as 40% by 2030 (EIA, 2016). To meet future energy needs of the growing global population, the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. Of the available renewable energy sources, solar power is one of the most promising options for the future, and has a key role to play in the ongoing transition to a sustainable economy. Solar energy use has grown substantially in recent years, both in the United States and globally. Bell Labs developed the first solar battery in 1954; and large-scale solar plants began to appear in the 1980s and 1990s, but it wasn’t until the early 2000s that solar technology gained significant popularity. Three factors made this possible: a) advances in solar technology, b) new financial models that made solar technology more affordable and c) strong government policies to support solar energy.

This case study examines the growth of solar and renewable energy worldwide, and discusses general barriers to implementing solar. It will then examine policies that support and incentivize solar energy in three cities: New York City, Hong Kong and Freiburg, Germany. We describe the history and background on sustainability and energy policies in each city, examine the major local barriers to solar, and the drivers of renewable energy policy in each place.

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Academic Units
Earth Institute
Published Here
December 10, 2019