Friday, November 4, 2016

Trump Disses Solar; HRC's Big Plan

For the 200,000+ of us working in the solar industry plus those who are fans of solar, it's vital to know where the presidential candidates stand.

On Sept 26, Donald Trump, who declared his four (maybe six) bankruptcies mean "nothing", said the Solyndra bankruptcy in 2012 was another matter. Granted, the Solyndra demise was not good for the industry or taxpayers but many of us know the company's modules were outliers; there was no way they could compete against the ever-dropping prices (and higher efficiency) of crystalline cell panels. Solyndra was barely a blip on the solar industry screen as multi-gigawatts of solar projects have been installed worldwide.

In October Trump said solar installations take 32 years to reach payback. We know this is a ludicrous assessment. Here in CA, paybacks can be met in as little as four years depending on the grid cost of electricity. Finally, Trump wants to get rid of the Clean Power Plan and kickstart the coal industry for more jobs (and more dirty power). Today, what coal mines still produce are profitable only through automation; 90% of mining jobs have been replaced by machines in the past 20 years. Those jobs simply won't be coming back. Furthermore, natural gas is cheaper and cleaner. Even Kansas rejected two proposed coal-fired plants two years ago because of the filth they would produce.

Hillary Clinton wants to install 500 million panels in four years. That's a tall order, for sure, but think of the possibilities. Production capacity stateside is not nearly there now but it would sure stimulate existing solar panel makers to grow and get others started. Then there are the inverters, switch gear, monitors and racking that will need to be made. This all means jobs, jobs and more jobs, some of which can be had by former coal miners!

So, if you're concerned about where the solar industry is going and your future in it, do the right thing this Tuesday.


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