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Ignoring Washington, States and Localities Expand Policies for More U.S. Solar

Ignoring Washington, States and Localities Expand Policies for More U.S. Solar
Wall Street Journal:

Government mandates should keep U.S. solar power growing, despite new Trump administration tariffs on imported solar panels that are poised to raise prices.

While the tariffs may slow the rate of solar expansion, local and state policies requiring utilities to procure renewable energy will continue to help create a baseline market for solar power, particularly for large, utility-scale projects.

New York, for instance, has called for three gigawatts of solar capacity to be installed in the state by 2023, roughly three times the amount installed at the end of 2017.

The Trump administration tariffs—30% in the first year, declining to 15% by the fourth—will raise the price of foreign-made solar panels and cells. But technological improvements and cost savings in other areas are expected to help the industry at least partially offset the increases, utility executives and analysts say.

Duke says it currently has about 2.5 gigawatts of solar energy generating capacity in North Carolina and South Carolina, and has plans to build or procure more than three gigawatts in the next five years.

To prepare for the tariffs, solar developers like NextEra Energy Inc. and Cypress Creek Renewables have been stockpiling solar panels.

NextEra Chief Executive James Robo recently told analysts on a conference call that his company already has purchased all the panels its needs to build in 2018 and 2019, as well as the panels for “a significant portion of our 2020 build.”

U.S. solar costs have fallen in recent years, partly due to a flood of cheap, foreign-made solar panels and cells, the component that converts sunlight to energy.

Several states have set aggressive renewable energy goals, including California and New York, which are aiming to procure half their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

More ($): Mandates, Not Market Prices, Likely to Keep U.S. Solar Growing




Wall Street Journal


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