Solar Power World November 2021 Digital Edition is sponsored by CPS North America | Chint Power Global
Solar power can help save the world from climate doom
It’s a pivotal moment in the history of the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that at this point, some devastating impacts of climate change are unavoidable, but there’s still a chance to stop things from getting worse. Doing so would require the world to stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by 2050 — a goal that the Biden administration, along with many individual states, has already set.
It’s clear the current administration believes solar power is a crucial element of preventing the world from becoming uninhabitable. The Dept. of Energy released a blueprint in September outlining solar energy’s potential to power 40% of the nation’s electricity and drive deep decarbonization of the grid by 2035.
“The study illuminates the fact that solar, our cheapest and fastest-growing source of clean energy, could produce enough electricity to power all of the homes in the U.S. by 2035 and employ as many as 1.5 million people in the process,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.
All these proclamations sound great, but looming in the background are trade issues that threaten to hold back the industry’s progress at a time when explosive, unprecedented growth is necessary. Enforcement actions on Xinjiang-produced polysilicon and tariff petitions on imported solar cells and panels are already causing negative effects to the market. SEIA and Wood Mackenzie’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight Report found supply chain constraints have already led to price increases across every market segment for the first time since the groups began modeling system price data in 2014.
“This is a critical moment for our climate future, but price increases, supply chain disruptions and a series of trade risks are threatening our ability to decarbonize the electric grid,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “If we want to incentivize domestic manufacturing and drive enough solar deployment to tackle the climate crisis, we must see action from our federal leaders.”
Federal policy is exceedingly important for our industry’s future, but regional and state policy are huge drivers of deployment too. In this issue, we take a look at solar policy themes in each region of the United States, from Puerto Rico’s opportunities to use funding to transform its grid to Oregon’s groundbreaking policies to bring solar + storage to low- and moderate-income residents. It’s the solar industry’s time to shine, but policy paves the way.