A new piece of legislation has been proposed that would help extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for both residential and commercial solar projects in the US.

The “New Energy for America Act” — proposed by US Representative Mike Thompson (CA-5) — would extend the federal tax code for residential and commercial solar installations for another five years.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said: “The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is paying huge dividends for America. Today, the U.S. solar industry is pumping $18 billion a year into our economy and creating tens of thousands of new jobs.

“By 2016, we will be generating enough clean solar energy nationwide to power 8 million homes, offsetting 45 million metric tons of damaging carbon emissions – the equivalent of removing 10 million cars off our roads and highways.  We applaud Congressman Thompson for his continued leadership on issues vital to our economy and environment – and thank all of the original co-sponsors for joining him in this important effort to build a clean energy future for America.”

According to Resch, the ITC has been a monumental help in terms of fostering the US solar market. More than 97% of all installed solar capacity in the US has come online since the ITC was extended in 2006 — with over 20 states exceeding 100MW of combined capacity.

The ITC has also helped generate 150,000 new jobs within the solar sector since 2006, while solar installations have grown by an impressive 1600% percent over the past decade — equaling out to an annual growth rate of 76%.

Resch added: “Today, solar is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in America. Congressman Thompson’s legislation will help to level the playing field with established energy sources, promote competition in the marketplace and encourage entrepreneurial solutions to meet our nation’s energy needs.  It’s an important ‘bridge to the future,’ which will benefit our economy, environment and national security.”