Newly elected president Donald Trump is an ardent climate change denier, and that spells trouble for Tesla’s new venture into solar energy.
During the first presidential debate, Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton sparred with Trump over his views on climate change and his controversial statement that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.
In fact, Trump has tweeted dozens of times about not accepting scientific evidence that climate change is real, and has said he wants to dismantle the Paris Agreement – a commitment by nearly 200 countries to try and limit greenhouse gas emissions.
“There is still much that needs to be investigated in the field of ‘climate change,'” Trump said on ScienceDebate. “We must decide on how best to proceed so that we can make lives better, safer and more prosperous.”
The news may not bode well for Tesla, which is looking to acquire SolarCity in a deal worth $2.6 billion. Shareholders will vote on the merger November 17.
Tesla and SolarCity shares are taking a beating today. Tesla shares are down 4% and SolarCity is down 5%. Other renewable shares are also down this morning.
Angelo Zino, an equity analyst at CFRA Research, wrote in a research note that a Trump presidency is bad for the solar industry as it could negatively impact solar subsidies. Zino marked Sell for JinkoSolar and SolarEdge.
“We believe a Trump presidency along with a Republican-led Congress poses significant risks to a potential reduction/elimination of the 30% ITC [Solar Investment Tax Credit], extended at the end of ’15,” Zino wrote.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said prior to Election Day on CNBC that Trump “is probably not the right guy,” adding that “he doesn’t seem to have the sort of character that reflects well on the United States.”
But Musk said he didn’t see there being a political risk to Tesla’s business model.
“I don’t think it’s very high, it’s not going to make too much of a difference honestly,” he said.