The US solar industry has thrived under Barack Obama’s presidency. There were hiccups every now and then – like Solyndra. But overall, total solar output has mushroomed over the past 8 years:
- PV panel prices have plummeted to absurdly low levels.
- The number of solar installations has skyrocketed nationwide.
- The solar industry continues to add new jobs every year.
- We are less dependent on foreign oil than ever before.
Oh – and all those businesses and homeowners who have gone solar now enjoy huge monthly utility bill savings thanks to their green power investments.
Will all this change now that Donald Trump is our President-elect?
It’s reasonable to think so.
After all, Trump himself is a climate change denier who doesn’t seem very amenable to sustainable technologies like solar power.
And to make matters worse, he recently appointed Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. This is a man who has sued the EPA multiple times in the past. And he’s also been quoted as saying,
“The American people are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations….”
Statements like that don’t bold well for the solar industry.
So should we be afraid?
The US Solar Industry Will Likely Continue to Thrive
There are a few reasons why we don’t think America’s solar growth will slow down anytime soon.
For starters, Trump is a “business” man. And if he looks closely at the numbers, he’ll soon realize that solar technology simply makes sense. Forget about the environment. PV panels are more cost-effective when it comes to long-term energy generation.
And remember President-elect Trump’s promise to bring back American jobs? Very few industries are as “outsource proof” as solar is. That’s because you need physical bodies on rooftops to install and configure every PV system that goes up. Moreover, the solar industry currently employs 200,000 workers, compared to coal’s 55,000. Betting on sunshine appears to be the safer wager.
Trump has also promised to open up public lands for more energy development. Some of this land will go to fossil fuel – which is obviously a step backwards. But a lot of it will go to green energy companies as well. Although we don’t think this is a good strategy, building more PV farms in the desert will obviously help the larger solar industry.
Lastly, most solar activity happens locally. The federal solar tax credit is a nationwide incentive that Trump may be able to get rid of. But as discussed in an earlier article, his administration will only have so much influence when it comes to crafting state-level or municipal green policies.
That doesn’t mean a Trump presidency will help solar. But the negative environmental impact of his time in office could be limited.