After a tumultuous four years for the renewables industry under President Donald Trump, on January 20th, 2021, Joe Biden was sworn in as 46th President of the United States of America. Within the first week of his presidency, Biden signed a few key executive orders, some of which dealing with undoing the unscientific, and climate-denying policies put in place by the previous administration.
In this article, we will be examining what has already been done by the current administration to boost the solar and renewable energy industry as well as what we can expect to see long-term under our new President.
What has happened in Biden’s first month as president
Within the first hours of his presidency, President Biden signed 17 executive actions to quickly undo many of the controversial steps taken by his predecessor, telling reporters that “there’s no time to start like today”.
One such step included reversing the decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord, a move made to show the American people his commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and a direction to reverse more than 100 Trump actions on the environment will also aid to lower the dependence on fossil fuels and is a step towards a greener future for the country.
On January 27th, we also saw some more key items in the agenda, notably that President Biden reestablished the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the elevation of climate change as an essential element of US foreign policy and national security. This kicks off the development of a new emissions reduction target, which will be announced by April 22nd.
What we expect to see in the future
Biden’s “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad” aims to put the country in a position to become “a 100% clean energy economy with net-zero emissions by 2050” as well as to “decarbonize the U.S. power sector by 2035”. Included in this executive order is a commitment to “environmental justice and new, clean infrastructure projects”.
Since the return to the Paris Climate Accord is being fast-tracked by the government, the United States will need to quickly put in place a concrete plan to achieve the Accord’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
We can also expect a change in terms of tariffs. The Trump Administration had originally implemented a 30% tariff on foreign imports in an attempt to force industries that rely on cheap imports to spend more money domestically. This resulted in “a loss of 10,000 [solar energy] jobs in 2017 followed by a further 8,000 in 2018”. If Biden intends to stick to his plan to decrease emissions in the U.S., it would be wise to review these tariffs and make some adjustments that will in turn benefit solar companies.
What this means for the solar industry
While countries involved in the Paris Climate Accord have not committed to any specific emissions goals, our return will likely lead to better incentives for homeowners, developers, and corporations to invest in renewable energy sources, creating a nice boost for the solar industry.
Biden has also made a commitment to COVID-19 relief, beefing up testing, vaccine/PPE manufacturing, and imposing travel restrictions and mask mandates for many public areas such as airports and trains. While this won’t directly affect the solar industry at face value, it will likely result in fewer cases overall and help the country on its journey back to normalcy.
In an industry where sales often happen door-to-door and at the kitchen table, a return to this classic way of doing business in addition to our new skills as online salespeople through screen-share and phone calls will be a huge improvement to the current situation once the country gets a better handle on COVID-19.
While the solar industry has continued to thrive throughout the ups and downs of what has come out of the White House over the last four years, this new president will surely breathe some fresh air into the renewables industry. While things won’t change instantly, we can be hopefully optimistic about what’s to come next.
When things start to improve, make sure your business is ready to handle the boost by choosing a solar proposal software and design tool built to help you get more done, faster. With an easy-to-use interface, beautiful proposals with Shading Analysis & Good, Better, Best options, permit & stamp orders, and financing options, you’ll have all you need to continue growing. Book your free Solargraf demo today to learn more about why you need an all-in-one solar software in your toolkit.