With the election now behind us, what will the next four years of solar look like?
First let’s take a look at what’s been done the past four years. According to the Obama Administration, electricity generated solar has more than doubled since 2009:
That’s great news, of course, especially considering the rough economic conditions of the past several years. The falling cost of solar manufacturing and equipment (such as panels) account for more people jumping on board with solar. The other part of the rise of solar can be attributed to do with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the “stimulus act.”
In short, the stimulus act provided both tax benefits (via programs such as the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit and Section 1603 Treasury Grant Program) as well as $16 billion of funding for the US Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program. The bulk of that money was used to back loans of solar and wind energy-generation projects for companies that would normally have a tough time securing financing.
Under the current administration, we can expect much of the same supportive policies and renewed confidence for solar and other clean energy sources. Tax rebates (currently in effect thru 2016) are still providing huge incentives for commercial and residential customers.
There are also final approval on plans to open up huge tracts of federal lands — 285,000 acres in 17 zones in six Western states to be exact — for streamlined utility-scale solar power developments.
In fact, the first ever large-scale solar utility project, the Enbridge Silver State North Solar Project near Las Vegas, Nevada, went online earlier this year. The 50-megawatt solar plant powers nearly 9,000 Nevada homes.
Looking at the bigger picture, it appears we might see more of an aggressive push to link the need for more renewable energies with the threat climate change. It only makes sense, right?
If you’re reading this and wondering what to do — don’t fret. All we’re trying to say is that solar is big and only it’s getting bigger and better!