Over the last 72 hours, the solar industry, along with the rest of the country, has speculated over what a Trump presidency now means for the booming U.S. clean energy market. It’s no mystery that Donald Trump is not a fan of solar energy. He claims that “climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese” and is not a strong endorser of renewable energy as a whole. Rather, he wants to build up the American fossil fuel industry by resurrecting the coal industry, which industry experts have confirmed is practically impossible. Under Trump’s America First Energy Plan, he pushes for “energy independence” with a focus on new jobs, clean air and water, and focusing primarily on untapped oil, natural gas and coal reserves.
So, what does this mean for the solar industry and more specifically, for solar on Long Island? SUNation Solar Systems co-founder and Chief of Sales, Mike Bailis, says the ramifications are both short term and long term. “In the short term, because Donald Trump plans to build up the fossil fuel industry, people may believe that future energy costs could be going up. There is also a possibility he could impact the existing tax credit laws and depreciation savings. As a result of that, for people to be sure that they qualify and get those tax credits, there is now a level of urgency to move quickly.” Bailis’ thoughts are in line with other industry experts who believe that the Trump presidency and GOP-controlled Senate & House could be dangerous for the tax credits, and while there are no plans for this to happen right away, it is suggested that the ITC could very well be on the chopping block in the future. (source: pv-tech.org http://www.pv-tech.org/editors-blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-energy-policy-under-president-trump)
Bailis continues, “In the long term, we have a President for the next 4 years who has come out against renewables and clean energy, and under his administration, it may create certain policies or programs that are anti-renewable. He could also impact policies that may result in the cost of energy going up, to levels that we’ve already had in the recent past, as an example when the price of a barrel of oil was $75-100/barrel and natural gas prices and the other energy sources were more expensive and the cost of energy was greater than what it is today. As the cost of fossil fuel energy goes up, the offset value of electricity goes up, because the power supply charges (the cost of producing electricity) goes up. Solar energy now becomes the cost-effective alternative.”
Another point to acknowledge is that while Trump’s view on renewables may be generally negative, it’s hard to discount the economic growth of the solar industry within the country, an industry that has created thousands of jobs and brought in increasing revenue over the last 5 years to U.S. based solar companies. Milan Nitzchke, president of lobbyist group EU ProSun reaffirms the strength of U.S. solar taking it a step further. “Even a newly elected President Trump will not ignore that a safe and cost-efficient U.S. electricity supply can only be built based on a significant share of solar. It’s simple economic insight and matches with Americans’ strong desire for independence. Therefore, the U.S. PV market can be expected to continue to grow during the next few years.” (source: pv-tech.org http://www.pv-tech.org/news/how-the-industry-reacted-to-newly-elected-president-trump)
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Co-founder and Chief of Sales, SUNation Solar Systems