On July 17th, 2019 the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) sent a letter to Congress signed by roughly 1,000 companies in the solar sector across the nation, urging them to extend tax code section 48 and section 25D known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for Solar Energy which has proven to be one of the most prosperous clean energy policies in history.
In this letter, SEIA laid out the contributions that the ITC has brought including “creating nearly a quarter-million well-paying jobs and driving down electricity costs for consumers, businesses, and municipalities. It also has generated significant economic activity, accounting for $140 billion in private investment since its inception.” They also explained the economic benefits of solar with “more than 240,000 Americans work[ing] in solar energy today, a figure that has more than doubled since 2010. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “solar installer” could become the fastest-growing occupations in America.”
So what’s the big deal?
Well, after 2019 the ITC will be reduced from 30% down to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021, and finally, in 2022, the residential renewable energy credit is eliminated completely. This could mean serious problems for the growth of the solar industry, according to the letter, “the solar industry has experienced $8 billion of cancelled or deferred investments and the loss of 9,000 jobs in the wake of federal policy changes singling out solar” which is a result of the tariffs placed by the federal government. According to James Ellsmoor a contributor at Forbes, “the U.S.’ decision to add a 30% tariff on foreign-produced solar panels had a negative effect on its domestic solar industry, which heavily relies on cheap imports. The loss of the solar ITC is likely to have some negative impact on the development of new solar energy projects as well. Without new solar energy systems coming online, utility customers are more susceptible to high rates of pollution and rate-hikes as utilities rely on fossil fuel generation that is becoming increasingly more expensive to build and operate.
Specifically in the state of Georgia changes impending on the local level could also result in heavy impacts for residents. For example, Georgia Power and its partners are pushing forward with their nuclear power plant construction. With the financial influence of continued construction at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, also known as Plant Vogtle, not only will Georgia Power rates continue to rise (to pay for the long exceeded budget and plan to build the plant) but it will also impact other residents who do not get their power through Georgia Power (or one of the dozens of EMCs and municipalities who also have a stake in Vogtle). According to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy “A utility company’s energy resource mix affects all residents in Georgia, even if they aren’t Georgia Power customers since it influences power generation across the state”.
It makes sense to rely on an energy source that is not only good for the environment but also good for the people and solar is the natural selection for that, but until we the people stand together for a change in energy resources solar may never reach its full potential for Americans. As stated by Luke Richardson at Energy Sage “solar’s low-cost trajectory is likely to continue: unlike oil, gas, and coal, solar PV is a technology not a fuel – meaning that its costs will continue to fall every year as research continues and technology improves.”
So, while there may be a few roads bumps a future with solar energy is bright and there are ways to save with solar!! Give Creative Solar USA a call secure your install before the end of 2019 and receive all of the incentives you can before they could be gone!!