The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is looking to fight the expiration of the 30% solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) via a new national campaign, as I think we all expected.
Referring to the extension as being of critical importance to the future of the country, SEIA is aiming to extend the Investment Tax Credit beyond the 2016 expiration date primarily through arguments based on tax fairness.
The campaign is currently set to begin its main charge in 2015, after the new Congress is sworn in, according to SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. The announcement was recently made at the opening session of Solar Power International (SPI), the largest solar trade show in America, with ~20,000 people attending.
“Since the United States first began incentivizing energy development, the average annual subsidy has been $4.8 billion for oil and gas, compared to just $370 million for all renewable technologies,” Resch noted.
“How is this fair? How is this a leveling playing field? How does this kind of policy support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy policy? Simply put, it doesn’t.”
Certainly a good point there. You can’t exactly claim that renewables shouldn’t receive subsidies when all energy-producing industries in this country do.
And besides, even if renewables were more expensive, would you really want to back off their adoption given the great health and environmental improvements that accompany their rollout?
And the ITC has been helping the speed of adoption — since going into effect in 2006, solar investment has risen 70 times over. And, by the end of 2014, there will be almost 30 times more installed solar capacity in the country than there was in 2006. Of course, other macro factors in the industry have also come into play, but the ITC has certainly played a roll.
“We’ve gone from being an $800-million industry in 2006 to a $15-billion industry today,” Resch stated. “The price to install a solar rooftop system has been cut in half, while utility systems have dropped by 70%. It’s taken the US solar industry 40 years to install the first 20 GW of solar. Now, we’re going to install the next 20 GW in the next two years.
“And, finally, during every single week of this year we’re going to install more capacity than what we did during the entire year in 2006. Tell me that’s not worth fighting for.”
Those interested in reading the entire speech can find it at the SEIA website.
If the investment tax credit isn’t renewed, there’s the potential there for the industry to see investment funds dry up to a notable degree. That could be a big issue in many ways. Are our politicians willing to let that happen?
Image Credit: SEIA