With lower prices, solar installers will sell more solar. History has proven that it’s really just that simple.
The Section 201 Trade Case, soon to be decided by the White House, threatens to raise prices throughout the industry by raising tariffs on imported PV modules. Many worry that this will slow down business for installers and even put some companies out of work, taking jobs down with them.
Is the Sky Really Falling?
Fortunately, sensible analysts like Paula Mints, who does the 3@3 on Solar PV videos at Renewable Energy World, remind us that whatever happens with tariffs, the sky will not fall on the solar industry.
Prices have already come down so far, and demand has already increased so much, that the industry is sure to thrive in the longer term, despite some short-term bumps in the road.
Longer term, more crucial to growing solar in America than trying to fight off tariffs will be working to finally level the playing field for solar with traditional energy sources. The trade case will pale in importance to the chance to remove barriers to a free and fair market for solar within the United States.
But as long as oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power continue to get big subsidies not available to solar and as long as monopoly utility companies try to slow down solar or stop ratepayers from defecting to rooftop solar, then the field will be tilted in favor of traditional energy and against solar.
That will slow us down. So America needs to fix that.
Leveling the Playing Field for Rooftop Solar
Our country needs to make the market truly fair to all energy sources.
And we need the country to place more value on energy that’s higher quality than it does on energy that’s lower quality. As an energy source that’s clean and whose fuel is free and available 100% at home in the USA now and in the future, solar deserves credit that fossil fuels and nuclear don’t.
Everybody says they love solar, from treehugging liberals to Tea Party conservatives. But why can’t solar seem to get more respect from the government people who set the rules for the marketplace in Washington and in statehouses across the country?
It’s because coal, oil, nukes and monopoly utilities have big money and use it to exert big influence over government.
What does solar have, especially rooftop solar? People power.
But so far, we haven’t had enough of that.
For decades, solar has relied on environmental groups and a few industry lobbyists with SEIA and Vote Solar to make the case to government and voters that solar should get a fair shake.
And that kind of skeleton crew, no matter how bravely they fight, is no match for the well armed forces of fossil fuel barons and monopoly utilities.
So, what solar needs is its own army of advocates. Fortunately, there are more than a million homeowners with solar already installed across the country. There are thousands more business owners with solar too. Together, those solar owners are a natural source of champions for solar power, since they have a vested interest in keeping net metering and other benefits that support the value of their investment in solar.
But the solar industry has done a poor job of tapping into this huge potential army of supporters. A new-ish group, Solar United Neighbors, promises to focus on converting solar homeowners into solar advocates. I applaud their new approach, going beyond the usual suspects in solar companies.
To help this effort, I decided to write a handbook for solar revolutionaries. Entitled The Solar Patriot, the book just came out this month. You can buy a copy now at Amazon.
Or, you can get it for free.
My Gift to Solar Champions
To get The Solar Patriot into the hands of the advocates who need it the most, I’ve decided to release the whole text online for free over the next few months. So far, I’ve posted the first half of the book for free download. See what’s available:
- Preface (includes table of contents and testimonials)
- Chapter 1: The Attack on Rooftop Solar
- Chapter 2: The Secret Plan to Quell the Rooftop Rebellion
- Chapter 3: Why Solar is Patriotic
- Chapter 4: Why You are the Best Advocate
- Chapter 5: The Joy of Getting Involved
- Chapter 6: Education—Help Create More Demand for Solar
I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s filled not just with information but with inspiration. See what a couple of solar advocates have said about The Solar Patriot:
To download your chapters now, just to The Solar Patriot website.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group