Solar ready to thrive without subsidy, says US Energy Secretary

Solar ready to thrive without subsidy, says US Energy Secretary

02. September 2015 | Applications & Installations, Global PV markets, Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By: Ian Clover

Ernest Moniz says the Obama administration backs Democrats’ calls for an extension of the Federal ITC, but stresses the solar industry will grow even without further subsidy.

The solar industry in the U.S. is primed to grow and survive even without the need for subsidy support, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has said this week.

With the price of solar having fallen dramatically over the past few years, Moniz believes that the cost of electricity from rooftop solar arrays could fall to $0.06/kWh in some U.S. states very soon – a situation that would make solar “extremely competitive” with fossil fuel-based power generation sources.

Democrats in Congress are pulling hard for an extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which currently stands at 30% until January 1, 2017.

However, despite the Obama administration fully backing the goal of extending that 30% ITC further, Moniz is nevertheless sanguine about solar’s ability to survive free from subsidies.

“I certainly see solar growing, even without subsidy,” Moniz said. “The cost reductions have been incredible for the solar industry, making for an improved value proposition in many contexts.”

The Obama administration is in favor of supporting the extension of the ITC indefinitely, but a Republican-controlled Congress is likely to throw up roadblocks to stop that from happening. The issue, however, is not as simple as Democrats being in favor of renewables and Republicans in opposition – the growth of the wind industry has been rooted in many red states, prompting support for further subsidy support among Republicans in Congress.

pv magazine has explored this issue in dept in the September edition of the magazine. You can read more here.

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