Global investments in clean energy are down for the second year in a row, but the U.S. Senate is supporting solar power. The Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that allows for the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to be claimed by companies with solar projects under construction before the expiration date of December 31, 2016. Under the existing conditions of the ITC, solar installations need to be completely operational by the 2016 expiration date. This is great news for solar energy projects. An ITC extension would allow utilities and companies more time to build solar arrays and bring renewable energy to the grid with tax advantages. Extension of the ITC can, and will, prevent firms from canceling projects that may not be online by 2016. This is especially beneficial for large-scale plans.
Solar power is currently the fastest growing renewable energy source in the United States. It is estimated to support about 143,000 American jobs. This number has potential to grow even more since solar power is a growing industry in America. In comparison, the State Department estimates the controversial Keystone XL pipeline will create a mere 35 permanent jobs and 42,100 temporary positions. The message here for the energy industry should be clear: the long-term sustainable business model needs to focus on renewable resources. Fossil fuels will dry up eventually, but even if they didn’t, they are seriously harming our planet and our people with toxic emissions. Solar power drastically cuts emissions even when the manufacturing process of the panels is accounted for. Companies and utilities should be taking every advantage of this tax credit to loosen the country’s dependence on fossil fuel generation.
The bi-partisan support of solar power proposed by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Dean Heller (R-NV) is a small push for necessary changes our country (and the world) needs to make to ensure reliable power supply far into the future.
A new energy climate is rapidly taking hold worldwide, and the ITC can incentivize more production of the renewable energy we need most. My hope is that this tax extension, if passed, will contribute to decisions that involve sustainable energy in industries’ supply chain and utilities’ energy mix.
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