Proposed Trump Budget Cuts: Will They Affect Solar?

May 25, 2017

There is expected to be a new release from the White House pertaining to budget cuts proposed by President Trump. These cuts span multiple disciplines and entire markets, but one budget area in particular would be slashed significantly if the cuts are approved: renewable energy research.

The new energy budget cuts would substantially reduce the amount of federal money going to organizations like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory located in Golden, Colorado. NREL and its governmental sister, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), would together face cuts amounting to 50% less than what they have been receiving under prior budgeting programs under the Obama administration. The reason this is important is because organizations like NREL and the EERE are responsible for funding and managing research projects that enhance renewable energy technology, and this includes solar and wind energy production technology.

Some of the most advanced methods of harnessing the sun can be leveraged by the common consumer thanks in large part to the work done by NREL and similar organizations. So what do these new budget cuts mean for residential and commercial solar power generation system installers like Urban Solar? Firstly, it’s important to note that the cost of solar power for residential customers, in particular, is probably not going to go up as a result of these cuts. If anything, we’re more likely to continue seeing a trend of lowered cost-of-ownership figures for solar power. Even though this downward trend may not be as pronounced with these cuts as it could be otherwise.

The fact is that solar power systems use fairly commodified construction materials – silicon, aluminum, steel, wiring and basic inverter/controller hardware. The costs of these materials aren’t likely to go up because of renewable energy research cuts. If anything, the effects we’ll see as a result of these cuts will take years to flesh out. Development of ‘latest and greatest’ solar cell technology is likely to slow down, as the NREL and EERE organizations try to find leaner ways of doing their work. There will also probably be fewer jobs available in renewable energy research, but this economic impact isn’t likely to reach as far as residential consumers, unless they themselves happen to be employed in the industry.

There’s always more work to be done in coming up with better ways to live independently and cleanly, especially in regards to respecting our environment. Urban Solar is your partner for designing and installing solar energy systems that last – contact us today to learn more about how you can benefit from the sun’s energy. A free energy assessment is all it takes to begin the process!