The solar power industry in New Jersey and elsewhere faces a dual threat from a Congress that may turn off the flow of federal subsidies and pass on mandating renewable energy standards that would increase demand.
The Republican-led House has targeted federal grant and loan guarantee programs to reduce or eliminate, including those aimed at boosting solar energy usage.
Investments in solar energy enjoy strong support among congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama, but they could become part of deep spending cuts Republicans are demanding in return for their votes to raise the federal debt limit.
Republicans are targeting a U.S. Treasury grant program, set to expire at the end of this year, that solar companies say has kept them alive through the recession.
GOP lawmakers also want to cut an Energy Department loan guarantee program, part of which would end Oct. 1, that has provided nearly $35 billion in loan guarantees for solar, wind, geothermal and other clean energy projects that have generated more than 68,000 U.S. jobs, according to the department.
Meanwhile, hopes for a national clean energy standard that could boost demand for solar power also are dimming in a Congress that doesn’t support government mandates about what kind of energy Americans should use.