We've all seen how this election season turned out by now. And we are probably all bracing ourselves for an unpleasant change of pace in the energy sector. While President Obama and a strongly Democratic Congress weren't able to achieve as much as we had hoped from 2008-2010, it was still a much more clean-energy-friendly crew than what we will have for at least the next two years.
Of course, clean energy should be supported by the large majority of the population since it creates jobs (everyone wants that), improves national security (a clear win), and helps protect the environment we all rely on (a necessity). However, as we all know, more clean energy means less dirty energy and dirty energy companies have a ton of money to dump on the lap of our country's decision-makers, especially Republicans.
While there is broad support for solar energy -- over 90% of Americans think the country should use more and 94% of Democrats, 89% of Republicans, and 93% of Independents think “it is important for the U.S. to develop and use solar power” -- we can expect that dirty energy companies will have more influence on the next Congress than a disorganized and vaguely supportive American citizenry.
Solar Energy Growth, Up to Now and Into the Future
Dropping solar technology costs combined with good government incentives have helped solar energy grow tremendously in the U.S. over the past decade or so, but we still have a long way to go.
While recent studies project solar power will grow several times over in the coming years, I certainly feel a little nervous that the incoming Congress, as well as state-level lawmakers, will try to cut good clean energy policies and programs and will reject any proposals for progressive new ones.
So, what is the point of discussing all of this? One point, in my opinion, is that now may be the best time to go solar.
With costs lower than ever and state and federal incentives relatively high (though still nothing compared to fossil fuel subsidies), now may be the time for people to jump on the solar bandwagon. And thanks to the emergence of a handful of innovative new financing programs solar panels are no longer exclusively a luxury of homeowners with deep pockets and plenty of roof space.
Photo Credit: dolanh via flickr (CC license)