President Trump’s Energy independence policy has directed Environmental Protection Agency to repeal clear power plan (CPP). CPP was one of the major climate change initiatives by Obama’s government which called for reducing carbon emissions from the U.S Power sector 32 % percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
As per White House press release, the order directs EPA to “suspend, revise, or rescind four actions related to Clean Power Plan that would stifle the American energy industry” and claims to lift job-killing restrictions on oil, natural gas and shale energy production.
As expected, this executive order is attracting strong criticism from environmentalists. Now, what would this mean to the future of the Solar industry?
Had this policy been enforced two decades ago, when the solar industry was surviving on subsidies then that would have been a concern. Since the price of solar power has dropped so much that it can compete with fossil fuels, this move from President Trump cannot be a hindrance to the growth of the solar industry. In addition to this, the extension of federal tax credits to solar and wind farms in the end of December 2015 with a considerable amount of support from Republican lawmakers still remains intact.
According to Greg Wetstone, president and CEO of American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) even though the CPP would bring in “long-term investment in the nation’s renewable energy infrastructure”, the thriving industry is strong enough to stand on its own. As added by him, “The reality is that America’s renewable energy industry is growing rapidly because of declining costs, forward-looking state policies, and increasing demand by residential and corporate electricity consumers – a trend that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future”.
Some time ago even before the revoke of CPP, Sunrun’s Co-founder and Co-CEO Lynn Jurich said that “State-level decisions drive most of the conversation around access to solar energy for homeowners.” As long as State laws continue to support solar energy, the residential solar industry will continue to grow.
Moreover, the corporate demand for solar is rising steadily. Earlier this month, Amazon said that it would place solar power-generating systems in 15 fulfilment and sortation centres in the United States this year and promised that by 2020, 50 Amazon facilities all around the globe will be powered by solar energy. Previously Apple and google Inc have told that 100 % of their facilities are going to be powered by solar panels in near future.
With Department of Energy’s Sunshot initiative striving for 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020, the price of solar will continue to decrease in coming days. Hence solar energy would stand ahead of fossil-fuel competitors in terms of economic viability.
The growth of solar industry can be attributed to market-driven innovation and not environmental policies or federal regulations. With Trump government’s promise to bring in more manufacturing into the U.S, the solar industry will continue to proliferate at a brisk rate irrespective of the odds.