The fate of Solar after CoVid-19

The year 2019 was a fruitful year for solar power throughout the country. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SIEA), there have been solar installations worth 13.3 gigawatts (GW) in PV capacity in 2019. The U.S. solar installation capacity at the end of last year was 77.7 GW, which is enough to meet the electricity demand of 14.5 million American homes. In the same year, 30.4 GW of new utility projects were announced. 

https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo/data/browser/#/?id=39-IEO2019&region=0-0&cases=Reference&start=2010&end=2050&f=A&linechart=Reference-d080819.3-39-IEO2019~Reference-d080819.17-39-IEO2019~Reference-d080819.26-39-IEO2019&map=&ctype=linechart&sourcekey=0able

California is the largest solar market in the country. The state leads the nation with 27,405.89 megawatts (MW) of PV installations. In 2019, solar power created 74,255 jobs in the state. Solar supply nearly 19% of California’s electricity needs. At the starting of 2020, it had become mandatory for all new residential properties in California to have solar panels installed.

CoVid-19 and solar Power Sector

 Before the CoVid-19 pandemic, the U.S. solar industry was on track. Like many other industries, the pandemic has started to affect the solar industry as well. There has been a decline of 3.6% in the clean energy jobs pan America with 106,4722 unemployment claims. In California, there are 19,949 unemployment claims and a clean energy job loss of 3.10%.

SEIA’s internal modeling forecasts that by the end of June 2020, there will be a decline in solar jobs by 38%, in comparison with the pre-CoVid forecasts. The solar market will go down by 18%, including a 70% decline in rooftop installations and utility installations going down by 50%.

Renewable energy has been the U.S. economy’s most significant and fastest-growing employment generating sector over the past few decades. The Renewable Energy sector provides jobs to many electricians, installers, HVAC and mechanical trade technicians, construction workers, engineers, manufacturing workers, etc. The decline in renewable energy sector jobs, which include solar power, (among others) can lead to a more severe problem. All the new employments that solar created in 2019 will be lost, leaving many families in shackles of unemployment.

Over the past few years, the U.S. solar energy sector has created an impressive timeline. It has been able to thrive and become one of the most promising areas for clean energy and recruitment.

In a recent event, the U.S. Trade Representative was to withdraw its exclusion of two-sided solar panelimports from the Section 201 tariffs established in 2018.Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and other developers saw the exclusion as a means to cope with an “acute shortage” of domestic panels available to U.S. utility-scale projects. The import of bifacial solar panels does not harm domestic producers because domestic producers do not produce utility-scale bifacial solar panels.In the end, the exclusion stayed as it was originally.

Massive Support for a Major Problem

In light of the pandemic, solar supporters must feel the responsibility to support the community. There has to be a solid supporter back up behind solar power so that it comes out loud and functional. There are many jobs and gigawatts of energy at stake, and hope is all we have.

It should be made a point that the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) must accommodate the delays in the deadlines of the ongoing solar projects. The residential and utility-scale solar projects that are under construction or first running cycles should still be eligible for rebates.

There has to be a safe harbor for the ITC deadlines so that the project and residential solar owners can be sure of the rebates. An increase in solar permitting can allow monitoring and controlling the solar utility installations amid the quarantine. The future of solar is bright. Nevertheless, it needs popular support to flourish like most useful things.