The Solar Energy Industries Association has warned that proposals to reform energy taxation in the US could damage the country’s solar industry.
The Senate Finance Committee yesterday published a plan to overhaul US energy tax policy that proposed streamlining what it said was a “confusing maze” of incentives for renewable and other forms of energy.
Incentives such as the Investment Tax Credit play a key role in supporting new technologies such as solar, but the committee said the current 42 separate energy tax incentives should be replaced with a smaller number of “targeted and simple” incentives.
It proposed replacing the current incentives with two “technology-neutral” tax credits, one for clean electricity production and another for clean transportation fuel. Both would be based on measures of greenhouse gas emissions set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
But commenting on the plan SEIA president and chief executive, Rhone Resch, voiced concerns that its proposals would harm solar by reducing the ITC.
He said: “While we appreciate efforts by chairman Baucus to make the convoluted US tax code simpler and fairer for everyone, we’re very concerned that reducing the solar Investment Tax Credit and dramatically altering the way companies depreciate their assets could jeopardise future clean energy development in the United States.
“At a time when we’re searching for creative ways to reduce carbon emissions, fight climate change and improve US competitiveness, the continued development of a strong, viable solar industry in the US is critically important.
“Today, solar is one of the fastest-growing industries in America, employing 120,000 workers and generating more than 10.3GW of clean electricity – enough to effectively power 1.7 million homes. And smart, effective policies, like the solar ITC, are helping to power record growth in the solar sector.”
Resch said the SEIA would work with the committee to find “common-sense ways to reform the tax code”.