Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environment, Economics, and Politics (EEP)

Reader 1

Mary Evans

Reader 2

Bill Christian

Rights Information

© 2017 Maximilian Breitbarth


I explore the environmental and economic value to be gained by using a greater proportion of renewable distributed generation, mainly solar, relative to centralized generation in the United States in this thesis. I explain the benefits of distributed solar, namely the reductions in environmental damage and the economic benefits for system owners. These benefits will are compared to the obstacles to renewable distributed generation adoption: the costs associated with installation, the political resistance from utilities and power producers, and the aspects of current energy infrastructure that limit wider adoption of distributed solar. I make recommendations for changes to utility strategy, as well as provide policy prescriptions at the local, state, and national level to incentivize distributed solar. These findings and suggested actions can help inform policymakers and utilities as they shape future U.S. energy infrastructure.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.