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Will the US Solar energy industry survive the COVID-19 crisis?

Ved Prakash, Newsblare
0 Comments| May 22, 2020

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There are hardly any sectors not affected by Covid-19, including the US solar industry. The US solar industry is affected by compounding issues, delays in supply chains, strengthening the tax equity market, financial concerns of homeowners, shelter-in-place orders, and challenges faced.

If the US government makes the right decision, the market will create economic growth and new employment opportunities otherwise will face a huge slowdown in economic investment.

Washington D. C. As of June 2020, the US solar industry will generate 114,000 new jobs by June 2020, compared to pre-COVID estimates of 302,000 new jobs in the same time period. As a result, a total of 188,000 jobs have decreased compared to previous estimates for June, which means a 38% drop in solar jobs. Therefore, this crisis pushes the workforce to 2014 levels where it was 5 years ago. This ultimately affects the growth of the solar industry of 5 years.

This is not enough, as the US will install just 3 gigawatts by June 2020, a 37% drop from pre-COVID forecasts. This loss would be equivalent to powering 288,000 homes, and $ 3.2 billion in economic investment.

What US solar workers speak up about the harm the coronavirus is causing?

Like any other industry, the Solar industry plays a major role in economic development. But due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, customer demand has been declining and constructions have come to a halt in many solar cities which caused a major workforce reduction, project cancellations, and solar economy near to halt that is directly put 250,000 families at risk.

What solar companies speak about this harm? Here are some of their stories:

  • A New Jersey-based company laid off 250 people last month as customer demand for residential companies plummeted.
  • About a month ago, Sungevity, a residential solar company, laid off 400 workers due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
  • A large utility-scale developer said he has a finished $109 million project in Texas that could employ 550 workers and boost the local economy, but the project is now on hold because tax equity financing is drying up.
  • A Wisconsin installer says they will not move forward for the new project and will begin cutting the workforce in Q3 if the solar industry is not provided immediate relief.
  • An equipment supplier said that sales of projects are steadily decreasing due to the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. As a result, cash flow is down and the situation becomes very difficult to manage.

The impact of COVID-19 is being felt throughout the solar industry, in every market segment. In a recent survey by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), 80% of solar projects have been delayed or canceled. The report stated that the residential and commercial solar market could be down by up to 70% and the utility market could decline by up to 50% in Q2 alone.

That is not compatible with the business as usual.

Fortunately, the 26% solar tax credit at the end of 2020 may give homeowners some hope, however, they are still skeptical about whether installing solar panels for the home is actually worthwhile at this time of COVID-19 crisis?

Well, it depends on various factors like where you live, what your electricity consumption needs are, what your utility charges are for electricity, and the prices offered by your local solar companies.

Let us tell you that the solar tax credit is the most important incentive available in the United States. If you install a solar panel before the end of 2020, you will receive a tax credit equal to 26% of the cost of your solar installation.

The tax credit applies to your federal income taxes and you can reduce or even eliminate what you owe!

California will also save dramatically from customer-driven clean energy - that will continue to undervalue local clean energy benefits in many ways in times of crisis. California makes the power grid safer, more affordable, and flexible for all California residents and small businesses so that they can invest in rooftop solar, onsite batteries, and other demand response technologies.

To that end, the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) maintains a salvage cost calculator, which determines the costs and benefits of rooftop solar and other local clean energy resources. Those cost-benefit numbers form a clean energy policy for the commission. For example, the commission plans to consider whether to change net metrics later this year, which rules out how much rooftop solar customers get compensated on their electricity bills for additional clean energy going to the roof.

Thus, over the years, the calculator has dramatically reduced the major benefits of clean energy resources, such as savings in high-voltage transmission costs, avoided climate pollution, and the value of reliability and resilience.

Future vision

If the present situation does not change in the future then we can see a situation of more damage and life-changing. One of the major issues that companies are facing is financing projects. The companies have demanded from the government to provide relief in solar investment tax credit in the form of cash payments to help meet capital needs and keep workers on the payroll.

A strong decision will be needed to overcome the crisis, thus companies are seeking the best and most compassionate route. As almost half of the workers are in danger of losing their jobs and we must take action to overcome those losses.


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