Solar power keeps getting cheaper and keeps growing year after year, now accounting for nearly half of new power capacity in the United States. But coal and fossil methane (also deceivingly called “natural gas”) power plants need to be retired more quickly than they have been. We need to cut emissions more quickly than we have been cutting them or else we’re going to face climate catastrophes beyond what we can imagine and human society as a whole will be hurt and tested like never before.
With that in mind, 700+ solar companies would like to see stronger action from Congress in support of solar power (and, naturally, solar companies would rather make more money, not less). They sent a joint letter to Congress asking for 6 specific things to provide a boost to the solar industry. The first thing on the list: extend the federal solar tax credit (Investment Tax Credit), which provides a 30% reduction in the cost of a solar project.
Second on the list is “Address financing challenges and shortfalls by adding direct pay provisions to the ITC and help the industry reach ambitious deployment targets.”
They also now want standalone energy storage projects — not just energy storage projects connected to solar power systems — to be eligible for the aforementioned 30% ITC.
Furthermore, they are asking for the federal government itself to invest in solar power projects, as well as transmission, interconnection, and grid resiliency projects.
Last — but not least — on the list: “Support training programs and equitable policies that continue to build a strong, diverse solar workforce.”
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) highlights, “The solar industry is now a $25 billion industry that employs over 231,000 Americans in quality, high-paying jobs across all 50 states. To meet President Biden’s 2035 clean energy goal, the size of the solar workforce must quadruple to more than 900,000 Americans.”
“The science is clear: we must rapidly decarbonize the electric grid to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and the solar Investment Tax Credit is the most effective policy we have to drive solar deployment in the United States,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “The ITC is also a proven job creator, and after years of policy whiplash, it’s time that we give clean energy businesses the policy certainty they need to clean up our grid and create the millions of jobs necessary to build an equitable clean energy economy.”
Will the voice of 700+ companies, a $25 billion industry, be enough to push for these solar policy commitments from Congress? Will the industry at least see an extension of the 30% solar tax credit? It’s hard to say. The last extension was supposed to be … the last extension. But that’s not the first time it was supposed to be the last one. At the end of the day, the solar tax credit, and everything else on that list, serves a lot of bipartisan policy goals. That said, Congress is not always logical. It seldom is, in fact — even on issues that are very popular across the US.
If you’d like to ensure a solid tax credit for a rooftop solar project or even ground-mount solar project, you may want to play it safe and make the commitment soon. If you decide to do so, and you decide Tesla is the company you want to go with due to its low pricing and perhaps other factors, feel free to use my Tesla referral code — ts.la/zachary63404 — for $100 of (and a bit of a bonus for me).
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