Solar Energy 2020: Trump vs Biden
Democrats and Republicans. Whether you fall on the right or the left side of the political spectrum is matter of opinion. What's matter of fact is that the solar energy industry is growing at a pace like never before! How will the 2020 presidential election between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden impact photovoltaic (PV) solar for Americans in the future?
Right now the US is number 5 on the global economy for solar electricity generation to total electricity consumption. China, Germany, Japan, and Italy are leading the way in harnessing the sun's power a a legitimate source of electricity.
Furthermore, the federal tax incentive for residential and commercial solar systems in the United States has dropped from 30% in 2019 to now 26% in 2020. It is set to drop again to 22% in 2021. Starting 2022 there will be no tax incentives for residential buyers and there will be a permanent 10% tax credit for business who purchase solar. Businesses are able to write off the depreciation off on their solar systems for added tax benefits.
How has each party handled solar energy in the last couple of years?
Donald Trump signed a bill to put a 30% tariff on solar imports. While this has estimated to have lost tens of thousands of American jobs according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the vast majority of our solar imports come from China. It is difficult for American companies to operate at the margins that Chinese companies can operate on because of our labor laws. American solar companies have undergone significant growth on the stock market since this tariff has been enacted.
House democrats tried to include a solar tax extension in the COVID-19 stimulus but, it never made it to the final bill. We do not know for sure whether Joe Biden will increase and extend solar tax credits if he were to take office.
What is certain is that American solar companies are growing quickly with the rising cost of electricity, advancements in solar technology, and Americans being forced to pay more if they choose to purchase foreign solar panels.
The truth is that the 2020 election between Trump and Biden will not have much impact on a solar industry that's already growing at an exponential rate. Solar Energy only provided about 2 percent of the Untied States' electricity in 2019. It is set to be one of the largest generators of electricity around the world in 2050. See the figure below from DNV GL's energy transition outlook.
Listed below are the names and ticker symbols of some American based companies trading publicly on the stock market.
Sunnova (Texas): $NOVA
First Solar (Arizona): $FSLR
Enphase Energy (California): $ENPH
Clearway Energy (California): $CWEN
SunPower (California): $SPWER
SunRun (California): $RUN
Tesla (California): $TSLA
NextEra Energy (Florida): $NEE
Vivant Solar (Utah): $VSLR
The AES Corp (Virginia): $AES
Generac (Wisconsin): $GNRC
While you can investing money in American solar companies on the stock market, you can also purchase a solar installation through a local installer to also support to community.