Solar Incentives Waning?: An Unwelcome Surprise in Colorado
As states are trying to balance their budgets, an easy target seems to be the precious renewable energy programs. Colorado has suspended its popular Xcel program, creating uncertainty and frustration. The Denver Post quotes one solar installer who sums up the effect: "It is hard to run a business under these conditions." Industry executives suggest that the slash in incentives could cause the loss of as many as half of Colorado's 5,300 installation jobs, according to the article. The article quotes another installer: "Ninety percent of our business disappeared. We are just hanging on, but there is no light at the end of the tunnel."
The state says that the declining cost of solar panels for homes prompted the decision and, and this is a big and, the rising cost of the program. Slashing the state deficits on the backs of solar energy programs may not bring people out on the streets like reducing the collective bargaining rights of state workers.
But hold the presses, this just in from the streets of Colorado. Clean Energy Authority reports of just that, a demonstration in Colorado protesting the reductions in the program ahead of schedule. The article describes the scene: "Demonstrators held banners, signs, and wore thick coats as the event went on. The temperature hovered around 20 degrees."
It is hard to tell whether these demonstrators braving the weather to protect the emerging solar industry, but one thing if for sure: states that continue to make the industry go through these fits and starts only serve to destabilize the solar energy market.