Solar Energy

Rebuilding the renewable energy market via creative thinking

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates

More than 100,000 renewable energy workers lost their jobs in March. Add furloughs and under-employment brings the total to nearly 400,000. Job losses will exceed 500,000 before long unless the industry receives support. Many energy projects have stalled, and companies are working through when to restart. Some utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs have suspended, as providers are unable to access homes or businesses. Teslas electric vehicle plants in California stopped production in March.

Under current law, installations of solar, wind, battery storage, fuel cells, and other renewable energy technologies receive support in the form of federal tax credits used to finance development. Even in good times, access to tax equity is complicated. Just a few large banks control the market. These banks take a 13 percent share of the proceeds. But now, with the economy virtually frozen, the tax equity market has all but dried up. Only the most well-capitalized developers can access tax equity financing today, and even that may not last for long.
Federal support for renewable energy development could be funneled through the tax equity market. Allowing direct payment costs the federal government nothing more than existing tax credits already administered for the renewable market. The funds paid from the budget simply replace tax revenue assigned via ITC. Refundable tax credits could be a new form of the ITC program helping developers to get back up to the speed we were before the sleeping renewable energy market. If a company has no tax liability or if taxes owed are less than the credit, the payment could come in the form of a refund.

To compound the present situation, President Trump issued an executive order on May 1, 2020. The executive order bans the “acquisition, importation, transfer, or installation” of transmission and electric generating equipment designed, manufactured or supplied by any company that is “subject to the jurisdiction” of a country the US considers a “foreign adversary.” Does the question begin with who is a foreign adversary? If so, only one country that manufactures for the renewables market would be a foreign adversary, China.  (We thank Brok Thayn for this input)

Below are a few of the modules we have available

The context is that using equipment from an adversary could be detrimental to the United States, including cyber activities via technology. USD thinks the US government is over-reaching again. Instead of assisting the developers, EPC, utilities, integrators, or all other renewable companies in building a more secure grid, the administration is placing a burden on the entire electrical energy market. If you are looking for modules, please review the above list and let Karlita or Robert know if any of the modules fit your development. If not, we have other modules and we are happy to work with our other Asian manufacturers to produce a specific wattage module for you. Remember, solar accounted for nearly 40% of all new electricity generating capacity added in the United States in 2019, the largest annual share in the industry’s history.

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