The U.S. Department of the Treasury's popular Section 1603 program, which expired at the end of 2011, provided a significant economic boost to the U.S., according to a new analysis performed by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
The program, which provided a grant in lieu of the investment tax credit for solar projects and other renewable energy projects, supported 23,000 PV and large wind projects between 2009 and 2011. These projects totaled approximately 13.5 GW.
‘NREL's analysis estimates that up to 75,000 direct and indirect jobs and up to $44 billion in total economic output were supported by the design, manufacturing, construction, and installation of solar photovoltaic and wind projects funded by the 1603 Treasury grant program,’ the DOE writes in a recent blog post.
Additionally, over the lifetime of these projects, the operations and maintenance tasks required are expected to produce up to $1.8 billion annually in economic output.
‘In fact, the 1603 program has played a central role in meeting President Obama's goal of doubling domestic energy production from renewable sources like wind and solar in his first term – which we are well on track to achieve,’ the DOE adds. ‘Furthermore, it has played a critical role in building the infrastructure that America will need to continue to compete globally in clean energy for years to come, ensuring we do not cede the industries or the jobs of the 21st century to countries like China.’