To explain and promote the adoption of new technologies, researchers have debated the relative importance of technology push and demand pull factors . Here we examine a crucial problem of contemporary innovation policy ? promoting the adoption of renewable energy to reduce anthropogenic global warming ? that challenges prior models for large scale innovation adoption. From the recommendations of Mowery, Nelson and Martin (2010) , we develop a typology of technology push and demand pull policy design principles for renewable energy adoption. We use these principles to analyze a sample of 79 solar energy policies from 1974 to 2011 in the U.S., Germany and China. From this, we suggest additions to the model of technology push and demand pull ? by differing between direct and indirect push and pull ? to explain the success of renewable energy policies.