What a Trump Presidency Means for American Solar Energy

It’s really difficult to know what President-elect Trump’s plans are for the renewable energy industry.

In the past:

  • He’s called climate change a hoax.
  • He’s publicly supported more drilling – even in protected habitats.
  • He’s tapped a fellow climate change denier to help with the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team.

If these actions are any indication of where Donald Trump intends to take the country, his presidency doesn’t bode well for American solar energy. In fact, it doesn’t bode well for anyone who cares about protecting the planet and weaning ourselves off of fossil fuel.

But let’s focus on solar power for a minute – and the 8,000+ companies that work in this industry.

The Future of American Solar Energy under Trump

One of the primary fears that solar advocates have is what a president Trump could do with the federal investment tax credit. This subsidy is one of the most popular solar incentives in the industry. And it has helped solar grow 1,600% since the tax credit first went into effect back in 2006.

Under this incentive, homeowners and businesses that go solar automatically receive a 30% tax credit on their next IRS bill.

President-elect Trump hasn’t actually stated that he wants to get rid of this incentive. But one of the cornerstones of his platform is to reduce government spending as much as possible. And it’s quite likely that a host of renewable energy incentives like the tax credit will be some of the first to go.

This uncertainty has created havoc in the industry, with some publicly traded solar companies losing stock value shortly after the election results were finally announced.

That President-elect Trump also plans on backing out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement could also send shockwaves throughout the American solar energy industry.

There is one silver lining however. It’s unlikely – but it could happen.

You see, the fossil fuel industry is also heavily subsidized. In fact, it receives 6 times as much government support when compared with renewable energy. So it’s possible that in his push to cut unnecessary spending, Trump could remove some of these oil, gas, and coal subsidies as well.

In addition, solar PV prices continue to fall every year. And as a result, many incentives that were once critical to the industry are far less important than they used to be. In other words, the economics of sunshine have finally reached the point where government support isn’t as necessary moving forward.

But ideally, we would have a president who believes in climate change and wants to support fast-growing industries. Given that the solar sector has doubled since 2010 and currently employs nearly 220,000 people, betting on sunshine makes a lot of sense.

To learn more about going solar, contact us today for a fair and honest quote.