SPI 2015: US solar industry must unite to save ITC, warns SEIA’s Resch

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

The 2015 Solar Power International expo got underway in Anaheim, California on Monday evening, with a stark warning of the existential threat posed to US solar by the pending drop in the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

Welcoming attendees, Rhone Resch, chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), highlighted the rapid growth in US solar in recent years and its importance as an employer, with over 150,000 people now working in the sector.

But Resch said that success story now faced a real challenge from the expected step-down in the ITC, which is due to fall from 30% to 10% for commercial solar and to zero for residential. A joint report with GTM Research last week predicted that after a boom between now and the end of 2016, installations in 2017 were likely to fall by around 50% as a result of the cut.

On Tuesday Resch said the SEIA would be publishing another study undertaken by Bloomberg New Energy Finance scoping out the likely impact of the expected ITC drop-off on jobs in the US solar industry.

“It shows that 80,000 jobs will be lost for the industry if we do not extend the ITC. There are big companies that are going to be able to survive, sure. But we’re not going to be able to thrive,” Resch said of the BNEF report.

“I think people don’t understand the importance of the ITC. What the BNEF says is that the person sitting to your left or right, one of those two people is not going to be working in solar in 2017 or 18 if the ITC expires. So this is a big deal, and there’s a lot we can be doing as an industry to make sure we extend it.”

SEIA chairman Nat Kreamer underlined these figures with a warning that with the ITC reduced or eliminated altogether, “soft costs”, namely jobs, would become targets for solar companies as they struggle to remain viable.

“The ITC, depending on what portion of the value chain you work in, might represent anywhere from 30-80 cents per watt. So if you look at the price of modules and inverters, there’s not a lot of room to take 30-80c per watt out. But one thing that comes out are soft costs, and that’s people, those are jobs. We’re in some state of denial as an industry and we don’t understand the variable cost nature of soft costs” Kreamer said.

Resch drew parallels with the US wind industry, which was hit hard by the withdrawal of the production tax credit in 2013.

“You have to just look at the wind industry to understand the impact that a radical shift in policy can have,” he said. “And for those of you who worked in the industry you know when the PTC expired how dramatic an impact that had on employment, where they saw a 70% loss in jobs in that industry.”

Resch said the industry’s greatest hope was for an extension to the ITC to be included in an “omnibus spending bill” that he said he hoped would come together in late November or early December.

Later this week, US vice president Joe Biden will address the SPI audience, underlining the support solar has at the highest levels of the current administration. However, with the 2016 presidential election campaign now gathering pace, that support should not be taken for granted, a point acknowledged by Resch.

“I think we have a very good chance, but if and only if we as an industry make sure our voice is heard,” he said.

21 September 2021
C&I consumers currently source only about 7% of their power requirement directly from renewables. Indian corporate renewable market has grown rapidly and holds huge growth potential as companies look to reduce power purchase costs and cut carbon emissions. BRIDGE TO INDIA has built significant expertise in the corporate renewable business by working on over 30 consulting assignments and various research reports. We are organizing this conference to bring all stakeholders together and delve deeper into various market aspects. The conference will be held on a virtual platform with excellent networking opportunities for all participants.
22 September 2021
To commemorate the World Energy Storage Day(WESD) on 22 September, being recognized worldwide, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) and India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is organising the 5th global conference and virtual expo, which will be held virtually on 22 September 2021. WESD is a global movement initiated by various apex trade bodies working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility & green hydrogen technologies for a sustainable future. The forthcoming edition of WESD is expected to attract global participation with an intent to facilitate bi-lateral trade, market development and new research and innovation, which will invite 100+ countries, 100+ regulators & policy makers, 100+ International speakers,1000+ organisations, 100+ partners & exhibitors and 20,000+ global delegates.
28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
September 21, 2021
Pressures on PV plant performance have led the solar industry to be more demanding and forensic of the data operational projects generate, as well as the power. Jules Scully explores the growing role software is playing in the utility-scale solar arena and how it must evolve further still to meet expectations.
September 21, 2021
A round-up of the latest news from the US PV sector, including project developments from Ørsted, Candela Renewables and CEP Renewables.
September 21, 2021
New York’s governor has proposed an expansion of the NY-Sun distributed solar incentive programme and revealed plans for two transmission projects that will transport renewable energy to New York City to help the state reach 70% renewable electricity by 2030.
September 21, 2021
German solar installer Enpal has raised €345 million (US$405 million) in debt financing to fund the deployment of more than 15,000 household solar PV systems
September 21, 2021
India added 521MW of rooftop solar in Q2 2021, an increase of 517% compared to the 85MW added in the same quarter last year despite a slight increase in costs, according to a Mercom India report.
September 21, 2021
Private equity firm American Securities has secured a deal to acquire US solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider Swinerton Renewable Energy and its operations and maintenance (O&M) subsidiary SOLV from Swinerton Incorporated.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021