Congress has scheduled to sunset one of the most important federal policies that support renewable technologies. The Treasury Grant Program was passed in July 2009 as part of the Reconstruction and Recovery Act. Both homeowners and businesses can receive a 30% federal tax credit with no cap on the cost of their solar installation through the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit. As an alternative, the Treasury Grant Program can be awarded to selected commercial solar projects. In this scenario, a 30% grant is given to these companies upfront as opposed to waiting for a tax credit.
One of the reasons why this policy has been so vital is because it has contributed to the installation of 400 commercial solar generating systems that have, in turn, created 17,000 construction and manufacturing jobs across the country. This is a major success toward moving to more renewable technologies and creating “green jobs” that support domestic energy sources.
A newly published report by the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) has reported that if the program was extended for two years, it could conceivably produce 207,000 additional jobs related to the solar industry. In addition, the study shows that the investment in the solar industry could increase by $48 billion and the cumulative investment would increase by $21 to $22 billion from 2010 through 2016.
SEIA estimates, with the continuance of the Treasury Grant Program, 67,000 jobs would be generated in 2015, and 158,000 jobs in 2016. They predict that this will augment the US’s position over foreign suppliers in the photovoltaic industry and eventually add 5,600 megawatts, stimulating the national economy. Finally, the study reasoned that “in five years the saved unemployment benefits and additional tax revenue are higher than the government stimulus for all scenarios.”
Vote Solar is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring solar energy into the mainstream. They are asking Congress for a two-year extension of the Treasury Grant Program to continue the fight toward more renewables. Through The Vote Solar Initiative, ask your Senators to support the continuance of the most important federal incentive for commercial solar projects.