Businesses stress urgency for Congress to accelerate US solar through federal policy

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Among the most urgent policy asks is a full extension of the Solar ITC at 30%. Image: Matt Wade/Flickr.

A letter co-signed by more than 750 US organisations has called on US Congress to push through policies to significantly ramp up renewables deployment in the country.

The letter, which forms part of a national campaign led by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), stresses the need for federal support of solar and other renewables to help resolve the climate crisis.

The campaign’s leading priorities include the extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit at the full rate of 30%, including the introduction of a direct pay option, as well as the establishment of an ITC for standalone energy storage projects.

Currently, energy storage projects only qualify for tax credits if they are installed at the same time as an adjacent solar PV project.

Meanwhile the letter calls on Congress to pass “robust investments” that increase demand for solar PV, while offering “long-term certainty” for companies willing to invest in US manufacturing facilities. This includes additional incentives for solar equipment and components made in the US, echoing similar calls from Democrat Senator Jon Ossoff earlier this year.

The companies also call for policies to address grid resiliency, seeking Congress to facilitate the necessary grid upgrades to accommodate the hundreds of gigawatts of renewable power necessary to decarbonise the US’ power system over the coming decades.

The letter references the need for solar PV to provide 40% of the US’ power demand by 2035, a figure heralded by the US Department of Energy this week within its ‘Solar Futures Study’, published yesterday (Wednesday 8 September).

“That means quadrupling our current pace of installations by 2030. We are in a race against time,” the letter reads.

“The science is clear: we must rapidly decarbonise 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,” Abigail Ross Hopper, chief executive at SEIA, said.

“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.”

Tom Buttgenbach, founder and CEO of developer 8minute Solar Energy, stressed that the “broken, outdated clean energy financing system” was delaying the energy transition.

“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,” he said.

The most recent edition of PV Tech Power explored the role US states other than the ‘Big Three’ of California, Texas and Florida are playing in accelerating solar deployment. The full article can be read here by PV Tech Premium subscribers, or downloaded within PV Tech Power volume 28, here.

US solar deployment will meanwhile be the subject of much discussion at PV Tech publisher Solar Media’s Solar & Storage Finance USA event, held virtually next month. More information regarding the event, including how to attend, can be found here.  

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