By Scott Laskey
Some homeowners were surprised by the U.S. election results of November 2016, and the American public has seen many policy changes in light of the governmental shift.
One big question that’s looming on the horizon, here in Santa Cruz and across the country, is how the administration is affecting alternative energy, specifically the solar industry.
If you’re wondering, “should I get solar panels for my house,” read ahead for important information.
If you were thinking about getting solar panels for your home prior to the election, perhaps you are now a bit unsure in the face of changes to laws, regulations and solar tax credits.
Homeowners can rest easy, however. Signs indicate that solar energy will survive, and the industry will continue to grow, even today. Here’s four facts you need to know.
The day after election results were final in California and throughout the U.S., experts at Bloomberg Gadfly addressed solar energy in the wake of a possible de-regulating of the coal industry. A coal industry revival could bring even more competition to the energy market, sources claim.
Homeowners should rest assured that, even if coal regulations are loosened, the fuel’s high cost will ultimately keep the industry stagnant. Are solar panels worth the cost? Natural gas and wind power are more cost-effective than coal, as is solar, once homeowners recoup the initial cost of the panels and solar energy system.
In December 2015, wind and solar tax credits were renewed for a further five years, reports indicate. The measure is not likely to be repealed by the incoming government because it had bi-partisan support.
Therefore, the 30 percent federal tax credit for solar energy is expected to remain in place at least through 2019. Unless renewed, the residential solar credit will then gradually phase out, so homeowners don’t have to worry about federal solar tax credit expiration for several years.
Also in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency announced its Clean Power Plan, with an ultimate goal of reducing carbon emissions at power plants by 32 percent of their 2005 levels. The Clean Power Plan hopes to achieve the reduction by 2030, and the plan is expected to create jobs, save families money and further the alternative energy revolution.
While the incoming administration may try to change or scrap the Clean Power Plan entirely, the EPA is not likely to back down without a fight. The rule may have a final review in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, a process that is unlikely to move forward until there are once again nine sitting Justices.
Even with industry changes on the horizon, innovations in solar technology continue at an amazing rate. Solar customers now have comprehensive storage solutions at their fingertips.
Those who harness the power of the sun can receive peak solar power even at night or on cloudy days thanks to energy storage systems available from Sonnen. The battery storage systems company announced its all-in-one PV and storage solutions for residential installations in 2015.
The Sonnen system offers an array of features showcasing exciting innovations in residential upgrades. The system optimizes energy usage in your household by taking into consideration energy consumption patterns. It comes available with an app that allows homeowners to track energy usage and production at the touch of a button.
The company continues to advance the industry’s ongoing commitment to efficiency and dependability. Revenue from solar sales is projected to grow from an estimated $3 billion in 2016 to $38 billion by 2025. Without a doubt, solar power for homes remains a solid option for homeowners.
At the state level, the November 2016 elections saw several new regulations pass in California, but none of them are expected to reduce the demand for solar power.
In fact, numbers show that solar energy remains a major player in California. Sales of solar photovoltaic panels rose by 12 percent during the first nine months of 2016. The California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA) believes that a steady demand for alternative energy in the agricultural sector will keep the industry strong.
If you’re wondering, “is it worth installing solar panels,” now is the perfect time to invest in clean energy and take advantage of all of its benefits. Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan, states and local communities are spearheading their own energy initiatives.
In 2018 and beyond, installing solar panels for your home still remains the best way to reduce your carbon footprint and monthly energy bills. Contact us here at Sandbar Solar to learn more.
Scott is the founder of Sandbar Solar & Electric. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UC San Diego, Scott has an NABCEP certification, and has lectured on and taught many high-tech construction practices and solar PV technical concepts to education institutions, including Stanford University and state-recognized electrician apprenticeship programs. Scott enjoys sharing his knowledge of the evolving renewable energy space and making a difference in his community.
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