Renewable energy businesses are hoping US cities’, states’ and corporations’ demand for carbon-free electricity will offset President Donald Trump’s tax policies and tariffs.  Gregg M. Erickson photo via Wikipedia.

Renewable energy prospects impacted by Trump tariff on solar panel, tax overhaul

At the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street held in New York last week, industry executives and investors say shareholders are less wary about financing solar and wind operations than they were years ago.

As well, socially responsible investment funds are looking to put their money in clean energy projects and cities, states and corporations have also increased their demand for cleaner energy sources.

This comes in the wake of the Trump administration’s tax overhaul that cut production and investment tax credits along with the 30 per cent tariff on imported solar panels.

These Trump policies were aimed at increasing US manufacturing and economic growth, but they took the wind out of the sails of the renewable industry just after the policies were announced.

However, these moves have actually helped the clean energy industry by inspiring a backlash among local and state governments as well as corporations, which were already more driven to install cleaner energy systems.

“There is a sea change in grass-roots demand for renewable energy,” Susan Nickey, managing director at Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc. told Reuters.  Her firm invests about $1 billion a year in the clean energy sector.

“More and more corporations and consumers are saying ‘We want 100 per cent renewable energy,’” she added.  Nickey said city and state governments are embracing renewable energy-friendly policies which reflect growing demand.

Nickey added a survey of financial institutions showed that two-thirds of respondents were planning to boost renewable investments this year.  And 89 per cent said that unless government policies slowed demand for renewable energy, they planned to sharply increase investments from now to 2030.