While not a big part of his acceptance speech last night Obama did mention that he’s not done with climate change or clean energy. “We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destruction power of a warming planet. He added, “I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together.…Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.” How this will play out remains to be seen. It could mean more incentives for solar and clean energy or long-lasting policy for clean energy.
During his first year in office the Obama Administration invested in growing solar, wind and clean energy technologies in the U.S. with Treasury Grants, tax incentives, rebates and more, in an effort to reduce up-front costs of the technologies as the gain more mainstream traction. Many of those have since subsided, but they’ve been effective. His re-election was applauded by, among others, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“President Obama has been a tremendous supporter of solar energy and we look forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administration over the next four years,” said SEIA CEO Rhone Resch. “To date, the Obama Administration has created and supported pro-solar policies that have been vital to the success of the industry. Solar installations and jobs have risen dramatically throughout the U.S, while costs have fallen.”
Resch referred to a recent study by The Solar Foundation, which determined that the solar industry alone now employs more than 119,000 at 5,600 in the U.S. “This is more than double the number of Americans working in solar in 2009,” he said.
The Administration enacted a policy allowing solar installations for the first time on public lands and set a goal to permit 10 gigawatts of additional renewable energy projects on public lands by the end of 2012, which has been a great driver of this growth. The U.S. now has enough installed solar capacity to power nearly a million households, and 2012 will be another year of record growth for our industry.
To ensure that the solar industry continues to thrive more needs to be done—as for any energy industry. “Policy certainty is crucial to continue the growing role of solar in America’s energy mix,” Resch said. “Stable policy frameworks at the federal and state level, including maintaining and expanding commitments to renewable energy initiatives, spur and leverage private sector investments in the solar industry to meet our nation’s future energy needs.”