Twenty Democratic U.S. senators are urging Senate leaders to support an extension of solar energy tax credits.
In a letter to Senate leaders Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Finance leaders Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the senators request continued investments in the investment tax credit (ITC) and residential renewable energy tax credit. They specifically cite the importance to the growth of the U.S. solar industry.
In the letter, the lawmakers urge the Senate leaders to prioritize and preserve existing clean energy tax credits to guard against intensifying climate change and protect the 240,000 solar industry jobs in America that could be impacted if the credits are not renewed.
The letter was led by U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-N.M., along with U.S. Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.; Cory A. Booker, D-N.J.; Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.; Jeffrey A. Merkley, D-Ore.; Michael F. Bennet, D-Colo.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.; Tom Udall, D-N.M.; Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Tina Smith, D-Minn.; Christopher A. Coons, D-Del.; Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Kamala D. Harris, D-Calif.; and Mazie K. Hirono, D-Hawaii.
“As the Senate Finance Committee and Congress considers extending expired and expiring tax incentives and investments in our nation’s aging infrastructure, we should prioritize extending clean energy tax incentives that are set to phase down at the end of this year,” the senators wrote.
“The ITC and residential renewable credits have a very strong track record of fueling solar deployment, jobs and carbon reductions. Because of these credits, solar energy has averaged 50 percent annual growth for a decade.”
They added, “In order to continue amplifying renewable energy growth and a meaningful transition to clean energy utilization, our country will need to continue policies that have already proven to drive investment, or otherwise pass new policies that disincentivize carbon emissions.”
Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, has released the following statement in support of the ITC:
“The ITC is a common-sense policy that helps every day Americans, whether it’s on a house, within a community, or on a tract of farm land. Until we have comprehensive legislation addressing climate change, the ITC is the strongest policy there is to incent clean energy development. We already know that the ITC has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs and injected more than $140 billion in private investment into the economy.
“The ITC has a record of bipartisan support, and circumstances since 2015, such as trade tariffs and a heightened awareness of climate change, only serve to bolster the case for extending the wildly successful policy. Fully, 81 percent of American voters believe solar is good for the economy and 73 percent, including 65 percent of Republican voters, believe solar can help address climate change.
“We strongly support an ITC extension and respectfully urge Congress to extend the credit.”