The Trump Administration Just Handed Down a Landmark Solar Approval

The Trump Administration Just Handed Down a Landmark Solar Approval

by | published May 23rd, 2018

Everyone’s favorite on-again, off-again desert solar farm just passed through a major milestone.

This morning, The Interior Department approved the iconic Palen solar farm, proposed for almost 4,000 acres of Riverside County near Joshua Tree National Park, which has been on bureaucratic life support for years.

Palen Dunes, Chuckwalla Valley CA

The 500-megawatt (MW) project, which has been in the works since 2009, will be among the largest solar projects in the country with the potential to power about 130,000 homes.

More importantly, it is the first big solar project on public land to get the go-ahead from Trump’s Interior Department.

The Impact of the “Sunshine State”

Over the past decade, California has become a hotbed of solar development.

The state leads the nation in solar production, and almost 16% of the state’s electricity comes from solar.

The state itself generates so much renewable power that it frequently has to halt production and give away stored power to neighboring states to avoid overloading the electric grid.

In fact, just two weeks ago, California made energy history.

On May 9, the world’s fifth largest economy announced it will legally mandate solar panel installation for all new homes built after 2020.

As the first state to implement this law, subsequential energy-efficiency upgrades are expected to slash energy use (and overall costs) by more than 50% for those new homes.

“This is an undeniably historic decision for the state, and the U.S. California has long been our nation’s biggest solar champion, and its mass adoption of solar has generated huge economic and environmental benefits, including bringing tens of billions of dollars of investment into the state,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Now, California is taking bold leadership again, recognizing that solar should be as commonplace as the front door that welcomes you home.”

While the growth of solar may seem slow to some, it’s fair to say it’s in the midst of its “deceptive phase,” on the road to disruption.

And it’s not just the “Sunshine State’s” new solar mindset that makes me think so.

The solar industry is booming nationally, too.

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The U.S. Solar Boom

The cost of solar panels is dropping exponentially.

For the first time in history, the production cost of renewables is now lower than that of fossil fuels.

The International Energy Agency predicts that we will produce 662 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2035 following a $1.3 trillion investment in this area, but frankly this estimate is “highly conservative.”

The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics also projected this week that ‘solar-panel installer’ will be the nation’s fastest-growing job over the next decade, with employment more than doubling from 11,300 installers last year to 23,200 in 2026.

Fact is, the coming global transition to solar electricity is an energy game-changer unlike anything since the dawn of the Oil Age.

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And right now, this fuel is just a tiny niche sector Рworth  about $60 billion. It accounts for less than 1% of the global energy market.

But it’s currently the fastest growing source of new energy in the world. In fact, the International Energy Agency believes renewables like solar will account for 40% of all the world’s power generation.

Jon Wellinghoff, one of the world’s top energy experts and Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), says the use of this fuel is… “growing so fast it’s going to overtake everything… It could double every two years.”

We’re talking about a massive 80,000% growth rate that will create trillions in new wealth.

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