The election is upon the US and by the end of the week, the country should have some idea about the direction of the country for the next four years. Currently, the solar industry seems to be chugging along even amidst controversies like the Standing Rock protest and Florida’s Amendment 1.
What’s becoming clear in the campaign is that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be much better for the solar industry and the environment than a Donald Trump presidency. Lux Research analyzed both candidates’ plans for solar power and energy in the country and determined that even on the scant information offered by Trump’s platform that it would result in at least 16 percent more emissions than Clinton’s. At the same time, Clinton has publicly vowed support for hundreds of millions of solar panels across the US.
In Florida, the controversy over ballot proposal Amendment 1 is growing. The controversial amendment, which utilities have dumped $10s of millions to support, would make it difficult for homeowners to go solar. Now solar advocates are suing to have it removed from the ballot and it’s lost critical support from the firefighters who previously supported the measure.
Solar has come to aid in another controversy, the Standing Rock, ND, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. There the Standing Rock Sioux are protesting the pipeline’s course, which would go across sacred lands and could imperil drinking water for millions of Americans. Hulk portrayer Mark Ruffalo recently brought solar-powered generators to the site to aid the protestors.
After much fanfare, Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduced a series of new solar roofing products designed to integrate into popular roofing styles. The rooftop tiles are essentially invisible to viewers from the ground, which could make protests against solar roofs in neighborhoods obsolete.
The other alternative to rooftop solar, no matter how invisible, is community solar power. Last week one project alone could become the single largest community solar project at 40 megawatts. That’s the First Solar Little Bear project. The first 40 megawatts of the project are being purchased by community choice aggregator MCE, which will allow its customers to buy power from the project. The Little Bear project could grow to 160 megawatts and MCE’s purchase in the project could expand.
While solar is growing in interesting ways in the US its northern neighbor, Canada, just announced that it plans to go 100 percent renewable. The country will green all of its offices, defense operations and more.