Solar Energy 2020: Trump vs Biden

Solar Energy 2020: Trump vs Biden

Article by: Dru Benn l 3 MINUTE READ

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 United States 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 from foreign countries. While this has estimated to have lost tens of thousands of American jobs according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), most of our solar products have come from China in the past and it was difficult for American companies to compete with them because of our labor laws. American employees make a lot of money compared to overseas workers that are often exploited for their labor. American solar companies have undergone significant and for some, exponential growth on the stock market since this tariff has been enacted.

House Democrats tried to include a solar tax credit extension into the COVID-19 stimulus package, but it never made it to the final bill. We are not sure if Joe Biden will extend the tax credit if he were to take office. This tax credit was included in American Reinvestment Act of 2009 to allow Americans to invest in their homes without coming out of pocket. Since the stimulus, millions of Americans have added solar to their homes. 

Solar Installations in Megawatts. 1 Mega watt = 1000 kilowatts. Average home in Texas needs a 8 kilowatt system to cover all their electricity needs. 

Solar Installations in Megawatts. 1 Mega watt = 1000 kilowatts. Average home in Texas needs a 8 kilowatt system to cover all their electricity needs. 

With the rising cost of electricity, advancements in solar technology, and our citizens being incentivized to purchase from American manufacturers, solar energy is one of the fastest growing industries in America with 250,000 Americans working full time in solar.

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. 

PV Solar to produce 35.8% of the World's electricity in 2050.

PV Solar to produce 35.8% of the World's electricity in 2050.

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

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