On July 21, the Senate Finance Committee voted to extend a package of expiring tax credits. The package did not include a change to a commence construction standard for solar, whose Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been critical to the industry's growth and will sunset at the end of 2016. The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) applauded Democratic and Republican leaders including Senator Dean Heller (NV) for calling for an extension of the credit to provide certainty to the 174,000 Americans employed in the solar industry and set the country on a path to pursue an "all of the above" energy strategy.
During the hearing on the extenders bill, Senator Heller said of solar, "I'm disappointed that we can't reach consensus on language that would truly give parity for an industry that is not only important for my home state of Nevada, but frankly, helps to diversify our nation's energy portfolio."
"We, like Senator Heller, are disappointed that the Finance Committee didn't vote to include solar in this tax package," said Bryan Miller, co-chairman of The Alliance for Solar Choice. "We applaud Senator Heller for his leadership to provide certainty to the 6,000 Nevadans employed by solar in his home state and for his laudable request that solar get the same treatment as every other energy industry so that the country can truly pursue an 'all of the above' strategy."
Without the solar ITC, industry experts predict that 90% of all solar companies could go out of business and thousands of jobs could be lost. Solar's water savings are also at risk. For example, a typical rooftop solar household in Nevada will save 1,845 gallons of water annually. That's the equivalent of taking 100 fewer showers.
"Senator Heller has strong bipartisan support for solar from Senators Cantwell, Schumer, and Bennett, with additional Republican support from Senator Portman," said Miller. "TASC and hundreds of thousands of solar workers, families, and communities applaud their collective leadership."