Scientist and policy makers alike have identified renewable energy technologies as a means to reduce global greenhouse gas admissions and remediate some of the negative effects of climate change. The global campaign to promote renewables is particularly strong among European countries, where policymakers have acknowledged global environmental changes at the national level, and responded by creating comprehensive national renewable energy policies to meet this challenge. However, in the United States, climate change appears to be a lower priority to the general electorate and to political leaders. This low level of public concern, paired with the fragmented design of US political structures and engrained political culture, provides a unique set of challenges to the development of more effective national renewable energy policies. The lack of a defined national policy also creates a variety of individual incentive-based policies administrated at the state and local jurisdictional levels with varying results in terms of policy effectiveness towards renewable energy. To address this problem, the existing literature argues that policies promoting financial incentives and subsidies have a direct causal relationship with the growth in the renewable energy sector. This literature points to the growth in solar photovoltaic permitting activity in California (from 2009 – 2015) as evidence of the effectiveness of incentives and subsidies in shaping citizen behavior towards renewable energy. Through area statewide analysis, the existing literature infers that rational actors are generally likely to respond to financial incentives in a clear and direct way. This thesis examines the effectiveness and efficiency of financial incentive- and subsidy-based public policy in the promotion of the renewable energy sector. This thesis maps existing environmental philosophies and examines domestic renewable energy policies, focusing particularly at the state and local jurisdictional level. I use four intentional match comparisons to compare similar local jurisdiction policies promoting incentives against those local jurisdictions without incentive policies to isolate and determine whether local level financial incentive programs have a direct causal relationship with the growth of renewable energy markets.