UPDATE: March 23, 2020. SEIA along with more than 550 solar companies signed an open letter asking for support for the solar energy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the letter was to support the 250,000 American jobs in the sector and the nearly $19 billion injected annually in infrastructure investments across the country. COVID-19 is threatening these jobs, when we need them most. Read the letter.
That same day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell categorically rejected support for the solar industry in the form of tax deductions. Calling it a “Democratic wish list,” the tax incentives were not included as part of the stimulus package.
Exciting step forward for the U.S. solar industry. On Monday, November 18, 2019, the House Ways and means Committee proposed extending the 30% federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) for another five years until January 1, 2027.
The proposed extension was unveiled in the Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now (GREEN) Act as part of a draft discussion paper by the House Ways and Means Committee. Solar developers and installers were facing down the barrel with a January 1, 2020 deadline, which will reduce the tax credit to 26% and to 22% in 2021. For the residential market, the credit is set to fully expire in 2020 and be reduced to 10% for commercial and utility projects.
- January 1, 2020: Tax credit reduces to 26%
- January 1, 2021: Tax credit reduced to 22%
- January 1, 2022: No tax credit for the residential market and 10% for utility and commercial
- Extend 30% tax credit to January 1, 2027, for all sectors
If the ITC was not extended, the U.S. solar industry’s share of power generation would account for only 12% of electricity generation in 203, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). With the proposed ITC extension, solar’s share is predicted to jump a third to 16%.
Promoting solar and other renewable energy sources is key to meeting the ambitious emissions goals passed by states like Maine and New York and going after the larger goal of tackling climate change.
Equally important is the additional economic impact the industry’s growth will have on the U.S. with more green energy jobs in the places that need it most. “An ITC extension will create thousands of jobs, add billions of dollars in private investment to the economy and reduce emissions,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA.
The ITC extension will help support the economic and environmental impact of solar with the following:
- Increase solar’s share of electricity production to 16% in 2030
- Add billions of dollars in private investment
- Create thousands of jobs
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by electrifying energy generation
Now is not the time to sit back, the bill hasn’t yet been enacted into law. So, there is still a chance it may not pass, and the solar energy industry will see reduced growth at a time when we most need to act.
Supporting the bill can be as simple as reaching out to your representative through organizations like Vote Solar or SEIA who have set up online portals to email your representative with little effort. As a member of the solar industry, you can take several additional actions to support the ITC such as the following:
- Join a solar industry association such as SEIA
- Submit a company testimonial
- Set up a meeting with your representative