In 2016 the U.S. will learn if renewable energy can survive without government support. The most significant tax credit for solar power will expire at the end of 2016, and the biggest one for wind already has. These federal subsidies have provided wind and solar developers with as much as $24 billion from 2008 to 2014, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That’s led to a 12-fold increase in installed capacity over the past decade, helping lower costs at least 10 percent each year.
Rhone Resch, head of the trade group Solar Energy Industries Association, tells Bloomberg Business that cutting tax incentives could cost the industry 100,000 jobs and erase $25 billion in economic activity. With subsidies, solar in most parts of the country remains more expensive than natural gas, coal, and nuclear. Without subsidies, solar is 35 percent to 40 percent more expensive.
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