US industry ready for ‘bare knuckle brawl’ to save solar tax credit

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

The US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has responded angrily to an attack on solar by a conservative think tank saying it is ready for a “bare knuckle brawl” if necessary.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) published a report last week entitled 'Filling the Solar Sinkhole: Billions of Bucks Have Delivered Too Little Bang', which cited the danger of expanding the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar and warned of an intense lobbying effort off the back of its inclusion in President Obama’s budget proposal. The ITC is set to fall from 30% to 10% at the end of 2016 but a reprive has been floated by the President.

The report also claims that the industry received an average of US$39 billion in subsidies every year for the past five years. Ken Johnson vice president of communications at the SEIA was unequivocal in his response to the report and particulary the claimed level of subsidies.

“Aside from spelling solar correctly, much of the report is untrue or misleading,” he told PV Tech. “For starters, how does an industry with a US market value of US$15 billion get US$39 billion in annual subsidies? The answer: it doesn’t. This is fuzzy math, and dirty tricks, at their very worst.”

The report doesn’t make it clear how it arrived at the US$39 billion figure. Of the 26 references cited in the TPA report, 16 of them are from organisations that were either founded by the Koch brothers, or have received funding from them.

“If clean energy critics want a bare knuckle brawl, then they’re going to get one. This type of guerrilla warfare simply isn’t going to work,” said Johnson.

“Americans overwhelmingly support clean, renewable solar energy – and that scares the hell out of the Koch brothers and their lackeys. Here’s the dirty little truth: few industries benefit more from the US tax code than carbon-rich big oil. By their own estimates, oil and gas tax breaks amount to a staggering US$100 billion over 10 years.

“So how do the Koch brothers divert attention away from this? They prod conservative groups, many of which they fund directly or indirectly, to attack clean energy. If it served their purposes, they would portray Snow White as an adulteress, a deadbeat and a crack queen,” said Johnson.

“Solar energy is an American success story – not a fairy tale. Since first being enacted in 2006 under a Republican administration, the solar ITC has been a tremendous boon to both the US economy and our environment, changing America for the better and helping to secure our nation’s energy future. Today, the solar industry employs nearly 175,000 US workers, pumps US$15 billion a year into our economy and offsets more than 20 million metric tons of damaging carbon emissions into the air,” said Johnson adding that employment in the solar industry had increased 85% in the last four years.

As a means of achieving energy independence solar enjoys bi-partisan support in the US; a number of conservative groups, including the Tea Party, have backed it and it is supported in a number of traditionally Republican states. Remaining arguments are over how it is funded placing the TPA report at the centre of the storm. With such a strong jobs argument, however, pushing the issue of perceived federal misspending is at the centre of any remaining debate. 

“If the Koch brothers and their minions want to have a discussion about the solar ITC, then let’s have one at the same time about intangible drilling costs and the oil depletion allowance. We’ll have that debate with them any day of the week.”

26 January 2022
Join this free webinar for our analysis of the growth of N-Type technology including; new capacity expansions and production output. We'll also be looking at the global manufacturing footprint with forecasts on how much product will be made outside of China this year and which companies are driving technology change across the crystalline silicon value chain.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.

Read Next

January 25, 2022
The Czech Republic’s largest utility, ČEZ Group, should scale up its domestic solar PV portfolio over the next decade instead of pursuing new nuclear power plants, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has said.
January 25, 2022
SK Ecoplant, part of the South Korean conglomerate SK Group, has signed a US$200 million joint venture (JV) agreement with Vietnamese rooftop specialists Nami Solar for the development of 250MW of rooftop solar in Vietnam over the next four years.
PV Tech Premium
January 25, 2022
European solar power purchase agreement (PPA) prices can be expected to level off this year following a turbulent end to 2021 as the market undergoes a shift in the balance of power to the seller side.
January 25, 2022
Indian PV encapsulant and backsheet manufacturer RenewSys has brought its encapsulant production capacity up to 3GW with the commissioning of a new line in Bengaluru, India, with the company eventually targeting 11GW of capacity through a “phased manner”.
January 25, 2022
A consortium including Saudi solar developer ACWA Power has inaugurated the 500MW Ibri 2 solar project in Oman, which becomes the country’s largest utility-scale solar project to date.  
January 25, 2022
PV CellTech 2022 is to be held in Berlin, Germany, the first time the industry-leading event will be located in Europe. Finlay Colville previews the event and provides attendance details.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal