It was a tumultuous week for a solar industry that witnessed one of the most shocking elections in U.S. history. Learn what a Trump presidency could mean for solar and why Florida rejected a controversial solar amendment in this week’s Solar Energy News report.
What a Trump Presidency Might Mean for U.S. Renewable Energy Policy
There has been little guidance about what a Trump renewable energy policy might look like. As noted after the election in UtilityDive, “Beyond promises to roll back EPA regulations and support fossil fuels, [Trump has] laid out few concrete energy policy proposals.” However, we may have gotten an early glimpse in the second presidential debate, when then-candidate Trump stated:
“We are killing — absolutely killing our energy business in this country. Now, I’m all for alternative forms of energy, including wind, including solar, et cetera. But we need much more than wind and solar.”
In this statement, Trump both acknowledges the importance of wind and solar while also reinforces his desire for more conventional energy investment. What might he have in mind? The likely centerpieces of Trump’s energy policy will include a greater focus on clean coal, offshore drilling, and hydraulic fracturing (e.g. fracking) for natural gas. Time will tell how large of a role renewable energy will play after January 20, 2017.
Florida Voters Reject Ballot Amendment for Solar Power
This year’s election was even more important than usual for pro-solar voters of the nation’s most volatile swing state: Florida. The Sunshine State’s ballot featured a solar amendment that many industry stakeholders condemned as misleading and based solely in corporate interest from Florida’s top utilities. Tory Feretti, a representative from a state consumer protection group, called the amendment “one of the most egregious and underhanded attempts at voter manipulation in this state’s history.”
The wording of the amendment implied that it was designed to boost Florida’s solar industry, attempting to capture support from voters with no knowledge of the amendment’s context or policy details. Luckily for solar homeowners in Florida, voters in the state rejected the bid that would have blocked new solar companies from entering the market in Florida and would have imposed new fees on solar system owners in the state. This vote was an impressive resistance to corporate political influence – Florida’s top three utilities poured millions of dollars into a misinformation campaign in an unsuccessful attempt to skew opinion on the amendment.
Arcadia Power Launches Major Community Solar Initiative
Some new and surprising data from Greentech Media revealed that of the nation’s solar-interested homeowners, some 90 percent of them don’t have a high enough credit score to qualify for a loan to finance a solar panel installation. This begs the question: how will the U.S. PV industry find ways to make solar more affordable and accessible for the masses? Arcadia Power, a clean energy startup, introduced a promising solution this past week when they launched a new program that will give virtually every U.S. resident the chance to subscribe to massive solar arrays – a process referred to as “community shared solar.”
Shared solar itself is nothing new – it is already a very popular energy option in certain U.S. states – the real innovation by Arcadia Power lies in their partnerships with utilities in every single state in America. This impressive network allows any U.S. resident to affordably source their energy from solar panels, even if the solar array to which they subscribe is nowhere near their home. Community solar is typically an alternative option for homeowners whose roofs are not ideal for solar panels, but it is also a key option for those who cannot afford to buy their system or do not qualify for a loan. If you would like to learn about Arcadia Power and the other community solar options in your county or state, check out EnergySage’s Community Solar Marketplace™ today.