It may comes as no surprise, but President Trump does not believe in climate change. That would be ok in his personal life, his former business life-to each his own. He’s the President though, and it’s just not ok in that life. Nevertheless, he’s not the first politician to be a skeptic so let’s see how his presidency may impact the solar industry in the U.S. Before election day many solar industry professionals knew who would be better for their pockets. Clinton, a known advocate or renewable energy shared similarities to President Obama. Trump on the other hand…
To begin with, President Trump has stated he wants to cancel billions in payments to the United Nations climate change programs during his first 100 days in office. While the U.S. doesn’t really pay the U.N. billions of dollars for the climate change programs, Trump’s intent is made apparent. President Trump also believes that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese government and denies it being a global phenomenon.
There are more than 8,000 private and public companies that make up the U.S. solar industry. Trump’s beliefs on climate change and actions taken to prove his disbelief could directly effect these companies and set back the industry at least 4 years. Many companies worry that Trump’s first target would be the solar investment tax credit (ITC), a federal tax incentive that gives customers a 30 percent credit on solar installations and it has been a huge part of the move to solar for many home owners. In fact, at Solar Power International 2016, Las Vegas I met a few installers who confirmed the tax credit was the golden gem in the conversation that made many home owners buy in.
It should be noted, Trump has not confirmed whether or not he will do away with the solar tax credit, however, his desire to cut government spending and refuse the reality of climate change has many wondering what his next moves will be. Come April 29th, 2017 President Trump will have been in office 100 days. If he is to try and make any changes in his first 100 days, they’ll be happening soon.
There is a lot riding on this presidency for the solar industry. A 2015 report from the Solar Foundation states that the U.S. solar industry has grown by 20 percent for three years in a row in regards of job creation. It’s a rare thing for an industry to grow at such a rapid rate-this alone should be reason enough to not attempt to disrupt the industry. Solar has also ranked as the No. 1 industry category in the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest growing fastest-growing U.S. private companies in 2016. Many solar entrepreneurs who have been building their businesses on solar are now beginning to rethink their approach-in fear not of climate change but political change.
Stocks for solar companies have been in danger since the election results came in November, 9th 2016. Elon Musk’s SolarCity stocked plunged just hours after Trump’s victory was announced. While that is no definitive answer to what the future holds, seeing such flight from solar stocks is not confidence inspiring.