Solar tariffs causing trouble for green energy
One of Pres. Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to “Make America Great Again.” Encouraging industrial growth is essential to do that, but has President Trump’s recent decisions on solar tariffs paved the way for that or steered U.S. investments back toward fossil fuels?
Solar panels are a multi-billion dollar industry. Demand for panels is growing in the United States like never before, but this trend didn’t start overnight. China readied for the boom two decades ago! In fact, they caused it.
Despite solar panel technology being pioneered right here in the United States, no one followed up on it like the Chinese. They amassed the factories, equipment, resources, skilled labor and contracts at a time when European countries were beginning to offer their citizens tax breaks based on private solar installations.
“Buy American products,” is not as easy as it seems in an industry reliant on ultra-low prices to fuel growth. Homeowners are not the driving force behind the expansion into solar power in the U.S. market. Utility companies are. The largest motivating factor is the risk presented by ultra-low-cost systems capable of taking consumers off-grid.
Threat of customer loss drives major solar power installations
Utility companies, like Alliant Energy and CIPCO in the Midwest, traditionally generate electricity from burning fossil fuels, like oil and natural gas. These resources don’t just create a massive amount of pollution as a byproduct. They’re limited resources. Once they’re gone, they’re all used up!
For that reason alone, we’re better off using renewable energy sources whenever possible.
Unfortunately, the collection of fossil fuels also go a long way to destroying the environment. From disturbing precious topsoil needed to grow food to contaminating ground water whole communities rely on for driving water, a massive amount of damage is regularly attributed to the fossil fuel industry.
Solar panels can generate energy from sunlight and store that energy for later use. Through the years, China has created panels that are more and more efficient, leading industry think tanks to forewarn utility companies about the potential for customer loss.
In response, they began to invest in their own solar farms. Called “solar utility installations,” these massive projects cost millions but – due to low-cost, high-efficiency materials from China – they’re capable of producing cleaner, cheaper energy than fossil fuel alternatives.
Customers get access to “green” ecologically-friendly energy sources without having to invest in private solar arrays. Utility companies keep their customers. Until Pres. Trump stepped into the ring with new solar tariffs, this was a win-win situation.
U.S. Facilities can not meet the demand for cheap solar panels