Solar power could win big in November’s election

October 13, 2020 | 3min read

Solar power may be on track to win big in November’s election. Should pro-green energy candidates win control of the federal government, it’s possible that a national plan to install 500 million solar panels on US rooftops within the next 5 years becomes a reality. If each of those panels generated 300 watts, then those panels would be able to produce up to 150 Gigawatts of power and chart a path for the nation to be 100% powered by renewable energy by 2035. Energy storage would also benefit from large-grid scale storage initiatives and electrical grid upgrades.

Renewable energy is resilient energy

November’s election could result in a historic change to how electricity is generated and distributed. The plan to put 500 million solar panels on roofs all across the country along with the installation of grid-scale storage facilities would result in energy being consumed close to where it was produced or stored. The use of microgrids, i.e., small-scale electrical grids that power communities, would result in much less need for long-distance electrical transmission lines. In states like California public safety power shutdowns are used to avoid transmission line-sparked wildfire. Generating and using power close to home would make energy production resilient by reducing the need for public safety power shutdowns.. 

20 Gigawatts of solar power expected to be online by the end of 2020

The great news is that solar power isn’t waiting for a new administration to expand. The 20 gigawatts of solar power expected to come online by the end of the year is a record. Solar continues to grow at a fast pace despite the current administration’s fossil-friendly energy policy. 

To reach the goal of 200 gigawatts within 5 years, the residential and commercial solar industries would have to substantially pick up the pace of solar installation. The current pace of 20 gigawatts per year would have to be increased by 500% to install 100 Gigawatts per year of energy production capacity.

A new administration may try to extend the Investment Tax Credit, end tariffs on solar

The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for renewable energy is gradually phasing out. A new renewable-friendly administration and Congress could move to extend and expand that ITC. A new administration would also be certain to scrap the tariffs on solar panels and building materials that the current administration has imposed. Another proposition is putting a tax on carbon that can be rebated directly to consumers that install solar systems and/or add batteries to their home solar.

How a big win for solar power could benefit consumers

Extending and enhancing the solar ITC would ensure that an important incentive for going solar and adding batteries would remain in place. A carbon tax rebate for solar system owners would put money directly into the pockets of solar consumers. The ambitious plan to put 500 million solar panels on rooftops across the country would extend solar savings to more consumers than ever before. The plan would also mean jobs. Chances are good that if solar power wins big in November, people and communities all across the country would win big too.

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