Despite all of the hoopla the Obama Administration is making about solar these days, the sudden drop of the Investment Tax Credit still sits as a chilling event for the red hot industry. No one is quite sure what’s going to happen, and that’s why the solar industry is coming together to help urge Congress to take action.
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) launched a new website WeAreTeamSolar.com to urge federal legislators to support solar by including it in this year’s tax extenders legislation. The website asks Congress to “help keep solar on a level playing field” and kicks off a national campaign to compel action on the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) through a five-figure advertising buy that now spans seventeen states. Already, TASC has activated over 12,000 people across the country to write to their legislators and call for support for solar in this year’s tax extenders legislation.
“Thousands of people are already engaging in our campaign, urging Congress to include solar in this year’s tax extenders legislation,” said Evan Dube, spokesperson for The Alliance for Solar Choice. “Solar energy is critical to an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and to ensure that solar is part of the mix, the industry needs certainty from our legislators now. The solar ITC goes a small way to level the playing field against decades of fossil fuel subsidies.”
The solar ITC will sunset at the end of 2016. Since the beginning of the tax credit ten years ago, the solar industry added 150,000 jobs. Without the extension, industry experts predict that 90 percent of all solar companies could go out of business and thousands of jobs could be lost.
The solar industry is asking to “level the playing field” because businesses, like athletes, require a level playing field to compete fairly. In the energy space, the relatively young solar industry is competing against the hundred year-old utility and fossil fuel industry. Established fossil fuel industries maintain their advantage thanks to dozens of federal subsidies while the solar industry relies on one: the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).
There is strong bipartisan support for including solar in this year’s tax extenders legislation. Nevada Senator Dean Heller called for solar to get the same treatment as every other energy industry during a Senate Finance Committee hearing earlier this summer. Senators Maria Cantwell, Chuck Schumer, Michael Bennett, and Rob Portman have also voiced support.
The TASC leads the rooftop solar advocacy across the country. Founded by the largest rooftop companies in the nation, TASC represents the vast majority of the market. Its members include: Demeter Power, Silevo, SolarCity, Solar Universe, Sunrun, Verengo, and Zep.
— Solar Builder magazine