If you keep up to date with the latest news in renewable energy, you’re certainly aware that solar energy is having a well-deserved moment in the sun—no pun intended!Over the past couple of years, we have witnessed an unsettling rise in natural disasters, such as intense heat waves, wildfires, and hurricanes, due to the impacts of climate change. It is no surprise that the climate crisis requires immediate action and that the renewable energy industry is a part of the solution. The popularity of renewable energy as opposed to fossil fuels is steadily growing, and with an incoming shift of leadership in the U.S., renewable energy is at the forefront of how we will begin to repair our climate and our economy.
Earlier in the year, the International Energy Association released its almost 500-page World Energy Outlook report, which included mapped scenarios reflecting how decisions made today will affect the future of the world’s energy consumption. The different scenarios put forth in the WEO address scenarios such as governmental follow-through and economic recovery timelines due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The IEA Outlook also praised the recent increase in solar energy, not only for its positive impact on the environment, but also for the decrease in cost and accessibility, stating:
“For projects with low-cost financing that tap high-quality resources, solar PV is now the cheapest source of electricity in history.”
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Solar is officially the cheapest source of electricity in history.
A solar panel system is an undeniable investment, but with current financing options, tax credits, and government incentives, more homeowners and businesses around the world are making the switch. In the U.S., California is leading the charge towards solar energy thanks to ample amounts of sunshine and aggressive climate action plans. California solar companies are at the forefront of the renewable energy boom. Many of these companies are inciting positive change by educating local communities on the impact going solar has on the global economy and the planet.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Renewable Energy Industry
Even prior to COVID-19, investment in renewable energy sources like solar and wind was booming. However, the solar energy industry has seen a decline in employees since the beginning of the pandemic, dropping nearly 40%. The amount of solar power installed for 2020 is also significantly less than forecasted, declining by around 37%. Understandably, the demand for energy has been impacted by the global pandemic, but the movement away from fossil fuels and towards sustainable energy is still going strong.
With unemployment rates higher than they have been in years, it is no surprise we have seen a decline in the installation of solar in the U.S. The Solar Energy Industries Association recently presented a suite of executive actions and policies asking President-elect Joe Biden to lead the U.S. toward climate renewal during his first 100 days in office, stating:
“Our 100-day agenda aligns with President-elect Biden’s vision to build back better and represents a critical opportunity to meet the moment of the climate era with equity and justice at the forefront.”
Solar Power Under a Climate-Friendly U.S. Administration
One of the new U.S. presidential action plans is to act on the climate injustice prevalent in years past. The plan begins nationally, with the promise of providing jobs and training specific to the renewable energy industry. The international promise is a recommitment to the Paris Agreement accompanied by an expedited ambition to achieve net-zero emissions. President-elect Joe Biden has stated:
“Meeting this challenge will be a once in a century opportunity to jolt new life into our economy, strengthen our global leadership, and protect our planet for future generations.”
It seems that under the new climate-friendly administration, the future of solar power and the entire renewable energy industry may be brighter than ever.