Improvement of Solar sector was among the most important agenda of Obama Administration. And there were several policy implemented favoring this sector. But Trump administration is a complete opposite of what President Obama set out to do. It took many by surprise when Donald Trump became the 45th president of America. This was mainly because of his controversial racist campaigns and irrelevant proposals, like a Wall between America and Mexico. But his term as a president has also affected the solar sector in the US. While the world needs more renewable sources of energy, these steps can be fatal for not just the us, but for the whole world. Here how Trump administration has affected US solar energy sector.
Solar Sector In The US
US solar sector comprises of two broad sections. One is power plants and another is distributed generation. In the latter case, it is mostly rooftop installed PV cells which generate electricity and supply to homes and grid system. As per estimates, in 2018, the united States was generating almost 66.6 TWh of electricity per year from these two sections. This was about 1.66% of total energy generated in the States.
United States is also known to be heavily involved in R&D of solar PV cells and other technologies in this domain. Because of this, it is among the top countries generating power from solar energy. Some states like Hawaii have plans to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2045. Solar power forms a core component of their strategy. So the future looked bright for the sector in the us. 2016 was recorded to be the best ever year for them. But the Trump administration is hinder some of its growth in various ways.
Solar Sector Affected By Trump Administration
One of the biggest shock that the US solar energy sector faced was a tariff imposed by President Trump. It was introduced as a result of the ongoing US-China tariff war. He imposed a straight 30% tariff on all imported solar panels from China. And as you might know, China is a manufacturing hub and produces huge number of goods, not just PV panels. While the cold trade war is still going on, the sector is facing heavy consequences.
20000 Jobs Were Cut
US Department of Energy reports that solar sector is responsible for employing more number of people than fossil fuel industry. Solar sector’s share was 43%, while fossil fuel’s was at 22%. But as a result of the tariff, almost 20,000 jobs were cut off by companies producing those employment. 10,000 jobs were first cut in 2017, while 8,000 were cut in 2018. Rest were affected here and there.
Billion Dollar Solar Projects Were Shelved
After axing jobs, companies are responding to the tariff by shelving and discontinuing projects that they had in their plans. This is further depreciating the market. Most of the companies are panel buyers from China who provide panels to end consumers and companies involved in solar industry installation.
While this isn’t a good news for the country as a whole, we can only expect the things to get better.