Solar Profits – Going Beyond Solar Panels

May 23, 2024

Biden’s administration has opened a new era in the American renewable energy industry: “President Biden is directing his Trade Representative to increase tariffs under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 on $18 billion of imports from China to protect American workers and businesses.” In other words, tariffs on solar cells (whether or not assembled into modules) will increase from 25% to 50% in 2024 and on lithium-ion non-EV batteries from 7.5% to 25% in 2026.”

A new era of solar energy is here, and it’s time for you to benefit from it. Discover how to profit from the American solar panel industry while saving on energy bills. Visit SolarPowerSystems and explore our solar quote section to get the best deals on installations featuring “Made in USA” solar panels. 

As recently mentioned, this tariff action will have several impacts and results. 

  • Short-term impact: there will be little price increase for solar panels and installations for one or two years.
  • Long-run outcomes: American solar panel production will grow, creating new jobs (expected 35,000) and lower prices for solar panels and installations. As a long-term result, it is another strong brick in national energy security and will provide additional savings or profits for US residents.

The graph below shows that smart heads saw the market’s potential a year before the tariffs increase on Chinese solar panels and components.

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The Foundation for Solar Profits

You can earn from the future profits of American solar panel producers. Where do those future profits come from? American producers will build production lines and invest in research and development of new technologies so solar panels will be cheaper and more efficient in the future. These new made-in-the-USA solar panels will be sold on the domestic market and surely exported to other countries that value quality.

Where will they get investments from? There are two major sources of investment: government capital and legislation incentives and private capital. 

Government investments and incentives are core elements of industry development because they provide a steady and secure source of money to build and develop. What are they?

25% of 5 ml installations were made after the Inflation Reduction Act was adopted.

1)  Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). It was adopted in August 2022. This act combines different federal initiatives that help residents, companies, and utility companies install solar panels and store the energy in solar batteries, resulting in much lower upfront costs for solar power. These initiatives (i.e., Investment Tax Credit with a 30% tax deduction for solar installations) work differently. Still, they reach the major goal – make solar installation affordable for millions of Americans.

And it worked. In 2024, The United States officially exceeded five million solar installations. Over 25% of this amount has come online since the Inflation Reduction Act became law. 

2) On May 16, 2024, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a $71 million investment, including $16 million from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, in research, development, and demonstration projects to grow the network of domestic manufacturers across the U.S. solar energy supply chain. By the way, at the link above, there are several names of US manufacturers: write them down; you will need them in the future when choosing a company to invest in.

3) Local state incentives. Every US state has solar programs that boost solar panel installations and manufacturing. States general tools are rebates, property or equipment state exemptions, and boosts for community solar installations.

These measures are not just direct money injections from the federal budget but also create a favorable investment climate that motivates people to buy (boosting the demand) and producers to invest, produce, and sell (satisfying the market).

Private capital always follows a favorable investment climate. As for the solar production market, many solar manufacturers and industry associations have already said, “Yes, we are ready!” For example, the CEO of a solar panel production company from Ohio says they are already making a $500 mln investment in research and development to produce cheaper and more productive solar panels. Why do they do it? Inflation Reduction Act was the key.

The next fact to know is that even before the Inflation Reduction Act, the American solar panel industry announced $17 billion of investments in the production of solar panels up to 2030. 

Summing up this Big Dollar section, the American solar sector is getting enough investments to build production and research new technologies. Therefore, the US market will be filled with domestically produced hi-tec-super-cosmic solar panels to fulfill the growing demand.

Solar Profits for Residents

So, the Solar Profit Machine has been launched and will start making money soon. And where is your cut? Here is a list of typical investment tools in the American capital market that will help you earn clean energy. 

  1. The simplest way to invest is to install solar panels. It sounds too obvious, but consider this a starting point. Installation of the solar panels saves you money on electricity bills. And that freed capital can be added to your investment tool. You can find a solar installer with our solar platform SolarPowerSystems, which allows you to compare solar quotes simply by answering a few questions. 
  2. Direct Stock Purchase Plans (DSPPs). Some solar companies offer DSPPs, allowing you to purchase stock directly from the company without a broker. Check the investor relations section of the company’s website to see if they offer such plans. First Solar, SunPower Corporation, and Enphase Energy are three top American solar equipment manufacturers.
  3. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) allow investors to invest in a basket of stocks, providing diversification. In other words, ETFs will enable you to invest in several solar panel manufacturers to make your overall investment less risky. The biggest solar energy ETF is Invesco Solar ETF (TAN), managing almost $1 bln.
  4. Individual stocks. You can open an account with a reputable online brokerage such as Fidelity, Charles Schwab, E*TRADE, or Robinhood. These platforms offer access to individual stocks and often provide research tools to help you make informed decisions.
  5. Mutual funds. Calvert Global Energy Solutions Fund (CGAEX): This mutual fund invests in companies that provide solutions to global energy challenges, including solar. New Alternatives Fund (NALFX) focuses on renewable energy and energy conservation companies.
  6. Robo-Advisers. Robo-advisors like Betterment, Wealthfront, and SoFi Invest offer automated, diversified portfolios. Some robo-advisors allow you to customize your portfolio to include renewable energy investments.
  7. Crowdfunding. Be first to invest and earn. Some platforms, like StartEngine, offer investment opportunities in early-stage solar companies or renewable energy projects.

Most of these tools require specific knowledge and experience, but not on the level of a New York Stock Exchange broker. For detailed analysis and news on solar companies and ETFs, use online tools like Morningstar, Yahoo Finance, or Seeking Alpha. Also, keep your eyes on renewable energy media. 

An employee inspects a solar panel on the production line in Goodyear, Arizona

How Much?

How much should you spend, and how much can you earn? Let’s start with the profit potential. All the above-mentioned investment tools will get you from 1% to 7% ROI. Of course, you may earn up to 15% or even 20%, but you must be a true trader and market analyzer and operate with risky investment strategies.

If you want to be within solar philosophy, your minimal investment should be the same amount of money you save after installing your solar panel system. Let’s say every month you save $100 from the electricity bill, and you include this $100 into your investment basket. So, if you do it every month for a 10-year period, and your investment tools give you a 3% annual ROI, you will get almost $14,000. This amount includes the base capital and earned percentages. In other words, the solar panel system may pay off with another solar panel system. 

This is a simple low-risk strategy that requires minimum effort and knowledge. You should spend some time and effort learning how capital markets work to earn more.

Starting Point

Of course, you can start immediately and invest hundreds or thousands of dollars as a regular private investor. But if you start by installing solar panels made by a US manufacturer, that is going to be a whole new story:

  1. The US quality of labor and production equipment is well known worldwide, so you are getting the best quality you can think of.
  2. Buying US products supports American jobs, and taxes will be paid into federal and state budgets.
  3. Profits from your purchase will stay in the US, and the manufacturer will invest in production or R&D. 

At the same time, solar panel installation is not a quick process. It might take 2 to 3 months to turn the switch on. During this time, you can gain basic knowledge about investing in American solar panel producers and earning extra solar cash.

SolarPowerSystems has developed a solar installer search engine that generates a list of the best installers in your area. This search engine uses the largest installer review database, which our professionals constantly update and verify. Simply answer a few questions and get the best solar offer. 

Andriy Ryzhyy
Andriy Ryzhyy

Andriy Ryzhyy is a Research Expert and Copywriter at Solar Power Systems. Andriy’s experience in digital marketing automation and renewable energy sources, passion for applying mathematical principles to real-life tasks, and devotion to developing eco-friendly energy resources—a commitment shared with the rest of the team—are crucial in shaping the company’s strategy for presenting accurate and user-friendly information on solar technology.

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