Source Themes

Residential Solar: Evidence from Uruguay

The Uruguayan government decided, in 2010, to encourage the installation of solar panels by households and firms. Specifically, the government initiated a net-metering policy, agents with solar panels can now take or overturn electricity to the grid. We study the environmental and economic consequences of this policy. We collect a novel dataset on electricity demand and overturn to the grid at a household/firm level for the whole country. Using an event study approach, we find that solar panels decrease the electricity demand from the grid. The decrease is substantial; on average, agents decrease their electricity demand by 15%. We also discuss if the program’s affect on CO2 emissions and its cost.

The Effects of Renewable Electricity Supply when Renewables Dominate: Evidence from Uruguay

The benefits of expanding wind and solar electricity generation depend on the effect they have on the electricity production mix. Using hourly production data from Uruguay, a country which currently has 94% of its grid green, I study its electricity transition to renewables. In particular, I quantify how an increase in wind and solar production first, displaces thermal, hydro, and biomass production. Second, I analyze how this transition reduces CO2 emissions in a context of large hydro production; and third how it affects spot prices. I find that the increase in wind and solar production has several positive effects, (i) a displacement of thermal production, especially in winter; (ii) a reduction in the CO2 emissions; (iii) a spillover effect to the region due to an increase in exports to Argentina and Brazil; (iv) a decrease in spot prices caused by the shutting-off of the most (marginally) costly plants. However, the increase in wind and solar production is not enough to eradicate thermal entirely. These results show what countries can expect from increasing their production in renewables, how renewables interact with other electricity sources, and its effect on emissions, and spot prices.

Gains from Off-Grid School Electrification in Rural Areas

We analyze the program Lights to Learn lead by the ``Organización de Estados Iberoamericanos para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura" (OEI), in Uruguay. This program installed solar panels in unelectrified and isolated rural schools, training schools on the usage and maintenance of the panels, provided schools with internet connectivity and a laptop. Using a difference-in-difference approach we study the effects of electrifying rural schools on students' enrollment, attendance, repetition, dropout, class size, and multi-grade at pre-schools and elementary levels. We find that on average, the electrification increased enrollment by 1.7 students per school. This increase in enrollment is driven by male students. Moreover, we find and increase in the rate of very low and very high attendance. No effect was found in repetition or dropout.

Gender of Legislators and Renewable Energy

Do female policymakers encourage the production and investment of renewable energy? The literature has shown that female politicians provide more public goods and care more about the environment than male politicians. I study this question in a cross-country analysis of 41 high-income countries for the years 1990 and 1997 to 2015. I use passing a quota law or years since women's suffrage as instruments for the proportion of women in the Parliament. I find that a 1 percentage point increase in the proportion of women in the legislature increases renewable energy production between 0.74 and 1.64 percentage points. Furthermore, it increases the net renewable electricity capacity, a proxy for renewable energy investment, by 0.002 percentage points. This study suggests that fostering policies that increase women's participation in policymaking positions is highly recommended, especially considering its positive spillovers to other countries.