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Solar News

The Solar Energy Industry and the Elections


The growth in the solar energy industry has been very dependent on the amount of support from the government. Whether that support will continue may depend on the outcome of the midterm elections tomorrow.

As we reported recently, it is much more complicated than Democrats are friends and Republicans are enemies of the solar industry. That is simply not the case. People across party lines generally support solar energy-but for very different reasons.

The outcome of the election will undoubtedly affect the way in which the government supports renewable energy. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, "The Obama administration's plans to overhaul U.S. energy policy faces (sic) a roadblock with Tuesday's midterm elections, when voters are expected to cast out or severely weaken the White House's closest allies in Congress on environmental issues." A report in The Australian succinctly states what is obvious to most political observers: "Cap and trade is dead in the US. Almost certainly, a straight carbon tax is dead as well. Any carbon price will raise the cost of energy, slow the US economy down and cost jobs."

Support for solar industry will compete with other energy sources. Nuclear, which was on President Obama's radar before the Gulf Oil Disaster, will come back into play. Some politicians believe that nuclear power should be treated as a renewable energy source alongside wind and solar, and these politicians will have a greater voice after tomorrow's election. "Oil, gas and coal industries are expected to benefit from having more Republican voices" according to the Wall Street Journal's article.

There has been a lot of debate about how Democrats and Republicans will work together to create a cohesiveness to move towards an end goal. According to Energy Digital "Some politicians believe the Democrats and GOP can work together to mold a more sustainable future."

Democrats and Republicans both want the United States to be prosperous and understand that we need to become energy independent. Here is a Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan, "I also support an all of the above energy plan that includes renewable energy, nuclear power, and clean coal technologies. America's energy needs will increase 40 percent over the next two decades, and we must meet those needs using every available option or risk prohibitively high costs and decreased access," as quoted in the Benton Spirit Community Newspaper.

Obama will need both parties' support to devise an agreement on our country's energy future. Nevertheless, there is cause for concern for the day after the elections. Government support for renewable energy may change significantly if control of the House changes, as is widely expected. According to The Wall Street Journal "Clean energy companies are in for a struggle. Those companies benefited over the past two years as Democrats devoted billions to establishing solar plants and electric-car factories."  The elections tomorrow will shape renewable energy policy in our country, but only the politicians can tell us how.