If you think solar power is a good deal, think again. The industry is slowly being crushed by the major players energy industry.
As a result, California’s solar power industry, a source of steady job growth since the depths of the great recession, has started to shrink according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The number of solar jobs in the state fell more than 13 percent in 2017 an annual survey found, as issues ranging from regulatory changes to a long, wet winter stunted sales.
And 2018 could bring new challenges. President Trump decided last month to impose tariffs on the cheap, imported solar panels that have helped fuel the industry’s growth, likely raising costs for consumers.
California, in many ways, still dominates the industry. The survey from the Solar Foundation research group counted 86,414 solar jobs in California, far more than in any other state and 34.5 percent of the nationwide total.
And yet, after years of reliable growth, the industry’s short-term prospects are clouded.
New residential solar installations within the state fell an estimated 19 percent in 2017d.
At the same time, California is moving from its old system for compensating solar homeowners who export their excess electricity to the grid, a system called net metering.
Now energy companies can shake-down solar users. The new version is less generous than the old and requires shifting to “time of use” electricity rates from their utility company, rates that charge customers different prices for electricity based on the time of day.
As a result, homeowners who buy solar arrays won’t recoup their investment as quickly.