Barack Obama Is President-Elect: What’s The Play For Solar?


Democratic candidate Barack Obama has emerged as the nation's president-elect, ushering in a new policy era at the White House. Some indications suggest that an Obama presidency will provide a boost to the domestic renewable energy space, including support for the U.S. solar market.

Obama and vice president-elect Joe Biden have long claimed to have a ‘comprehensive energy plan’ at the core of their platform. Perhaps most notably, their New Energy for America plan includes a provision for 10% of America's electricity to be derived from renewable sources by 2012. That figure will then jump to 25% by 2025.

In terms of delivering that level of renewable energy to the marketplace, Obama has noted that his administration would invest in a national smart grid that utilizes smart metering, distributed storage and other technologies to improve grid functionality and reliability. As part of this plan, Obama has said that he would direct the Secretary of Energy to establish an investment-matching grant program and initiate strategies to deploy advanced techniques for managing peak-load demands.

The president-elect has also emphasized the importance of shifting traditional U.S. manufacturing centers into cleantech hot spots. Obama has proposed to establish a federal investment program to help longtime manufacturing centers modernize for operation in a burgeoning cleantech economy.

Moreover, early reports have suggested that Obama will likely prioritize his renewable energy goals over initiatives directly aimed at addressing climate change. Such policy priorities have been reflected in the trading markets, where a number of solar-company stocks have experienced significant gains in the past two days, in anticipation of a probable Obama presidency.

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