How a plan comes together: Behind the scenes of the ITC extension


Solar Builder’s offices are located near Cleveland, and as such, we are huge Cleveland Cavaliers fans. The team’s first go-round with LeBron James from 2003-2010, was awesome, but as his free agency approached, everyone feared what was going to happen. Suddenly it was tougher to enjoy the success as we anticipated what might happen. Then the worst did happen and he left. Those were grim years. But for whatever reason, fate shone on us again and LeBron came back, reviving the team. This is only year two of our revival, and you can see people already taking it for granted and dwelling on other issues.

For some reason I am using this to make a parallel to the ITC extension (just go with me here). While the solar industry was on a huge upswing, everyone was still glancing at that ITC deadline and expecting the worst. That pending deadline made all of the success a little less enjoyable. But then, unlike my Cleveland analogy (always a good thing), there was no dark period. The solar industry made its case, due in large part to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), and the ITC was extended ahead of time, removing uncertainty from the air. And there was much rejoicing … for at least a few weeks. Now the industry is focused (and rightfully so) on other issues (like these contentious net metering debates).

Experience success, enjoy it for a second, but then move on to other things. Such is life. And hey, we’ve got businesses to run, so no sense just standing around high-fiving. But for just a brief second longer, let’s pause and appreciate the semi-miracle that was the early passage of the ITC that put the solar industry and the renewable energy future of the country on much more fertile ground. Watch the video above, which made its debut at the PV Conference & Expo in Boston last week, that dives into SEIA’s strategy and its behind-the-scenes efforts at making the ITC extension happen. Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, also had this to say in a recent blog post:

Our industry has come a long way in shaping solar into a serious source for America’s energy needs, and we are in a major growth mode.

By 2020, solar will quadruple in size to nearly 100 gigawatts (GW) of total capacity from just over 25 GW today. By then, more than $150 billion will have been pumped into our economy and enough solar will have been installed to power 20 million American homes.

Why will this happen? In large part it’s because the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) fought a successful battle to extend the solar investment tax credit (ITC) last December. Instead of allowing the ITC to drop down to 10 percent for commercial users and zero for residential users, SEIA pushed Congress to vote for a long-term extension.


— Solar Builder magazine





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