The Trump Administration has spoken in terms of having the U.S. involved in the international climate change agreement. It’s a move applauded by many who support the fossil fuels industry but criticized by others who say we seem to be moving backward.
In the middle are business owners that have staked their future on alternative energy forms. In Savannah, Julian Smith has been selling solar panels for several years now. “The year that I got involved with it was when the United Nations came out and said that climate change is real,” he told us.
Still, Smith says “why” he sells solar panels is often not as important and “why” customers want to buy them. And he says that is simple economics. “Most are concerned about the cost of electricity and that’s never ending,” he said. “Even if you finance the cost of the panels, you’ll have the solar panels when the loan is paid.
Many who support the Administration’s stand say the country will always need fossil fuels and cannot rely on solar and wind technology alone. The federal government currently has a 30 percent subsidy on the cost of solar panels. Smith acknowledges that would have some effect if that subsidy went away or if the planned subsidies in future years (which are a bit smaller until you would get to 10 percent in 2020) were abolished. Still, he says the cost of solar panels is coming down and there is sunshine every day. “And this is why solar will win over the other fossil fuels, nuclear, etc. Solar’s going to win simply because it’s an inexhaustible source.”