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On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act—also known as the CARES Act—was signed into law. This $2 trillion stimulus package is the largest emergency aid passed in U.S. history, and though there are indirect benefits for the solar industry, it’s not enough.

COVID-19’s Impact on the Solar Industry

Due to the coronavirus, the solar industry faces the possibility of losing half its employees, impacting 125,000 families, said the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

That’s tough on the U.S. economy, given that the solar energy industry has been a major economic driver for the U.S., said Mona Dajani, a lawyer on the board of the American Council of Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the energy and infrastructure projects team lead for PillsburyWinthrop Shaw Pittman in an interview with Aurora Solar.

“With over $50 billion in annual investment over each of the past five years, the solar energy sector is one of the nation’s most important economic drivers—but that growth is placed at risk by a range of COVID-19 related impacts,” she said.

The CARES Act’s Benefits (Or Lack Of)

Solar companies will be able to benefit from the CARES Act’s long-term unemployment insurance, business loans and provisions that support employee retention and other employee protections, said SEIA.

Ashley Eusey, PE, a sustainability specialist at Hoefer Wysocki, an architecture, planning and design firm, told Aurora Solar, “Any relief specifically to solar companies will likely be due to the ripple effect of being a small business that is eligible for funding or to individuals in the solar industry that are laid off and can collect on the relief package’s unemployment offerings.”

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