Washington, DC — Nearly 750 companies from across the U.S. solar supply chain sent a letter to Congress today urging action on policies that drive clean energy deployment and help us tackle the climate crisis.
The letter is part of a national campaign led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in support of transformative solar and clean energy policies in upcoming federal infrastructure legislation.
The solar industry is calling for a long-term extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) along with a direct pay provision, which will ease project financing challenges and shield the industry from pandemic-related disruptions.
The ITC is the main policy driver behind the U.S. solar industry. 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.”
The letter also calls for standalone energy storage to be added to the ITC, and for significant investments to incentivize American solar manufacturing capacity. In addition, the 748 solar companies are urging Congress to address grid resilience and prioritize policies to build and train and diverse solar workforce.
Addressing these key policies in infrastructure legislation will provide stability and a long runway to build a robust clean energy economy in the United States.
“Reliable and resilient U.S. energy infrastructure must allow consumers, regardless of income level, tax status, and geography, direct access to solar and battery storage,” said Suzanne Leta, head of policy at SunPower. “Federal policy leadership from Congress via a long-term extension of the Investment Tax Credit — with equal treatment for individuals and businesses — is vital to ensuring all customers can afford the transition to renewable energy and reap the electricity bill savings and resiliency benefits.”
“We know this: the broken, outdated clean energy financing system is delaying us from fully decarbonizing America’s electric grid,” said Dr. Tom Buttgenbach, Founder & CEO of 8minute Solar Energy. “We also know that climate disasters will worsen and continue to cause more harm to our society and economy. That is why we strongly encourage the government to extend the ITC with 100% direct pay, which will unleash capital for clean energy, and help the solar industry spur millions of jobs and combat climate change.”
The policy priorities outlined in the letter include:
1. Lengthen and strengthen the most impactful national policy to spur solar deployment, the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), at the 30% rate. Meeting our collective economic goals will require long-term certainty to allow businesses to plan for a much larger clean energy buildout than is possible under current policy.
2. Address financing challenges and shortfalls by adding direct pay provisions to the ITC and help the industry reach ambitious deployment goals.
3. Add standalone energy storage to the ITC to help the U.S. meet our energy needs and enhance the resilience of our electricity supply.
4. Pass robust investments in clean energy that increase demand for solar while offering long-term certainty for companies willing to invest in American manufacturing, including additional incentives for solar equipment and components built here in the U.S.
5. Address grid resilience and necessary upgrades to accommodate all the new renewable energy coming online, including transmission and interconnection.
6. Support training programs and equitable policies that continue to build a strong, diverse solar workforce.