With our new President elect, it seems that anything having to do with the Clean Power Plan is in serious trouble. Many have talked about what the future of solar will be and whether or not the ITC (30% Federal Tax Credit) will disappear. But rescinding the ITC would be a much more difficult process than one would think.
In 2015, Congress passed an omnibus spending bill which included the extension of the ITC until 2022. This was a very big deal for the solar industry as it makes solar more affordable to homeowners. The solar tax credit allows for homeowners to credit 30% of the cost of installing solar to their federal taxes.
The ITC is federal law and bipartisan. In order for the ITC to be repealed, it would take an act of Congress and 60 votes in the Senate. The truth is a new President cannot come in and change a federal law by himself, nor can congress do it so quickly. A bill this major takes time, especially when bipartisan. It would take enormous efforts to overcome a law that is favored by both democratic and republican parties.
What’s important to note is that many of the solar policies have been driven by state policy and are not controlled by the President. An example of this is Net Energy Metering (NEM), mandated at the state level, not the federal level. With California state and local policies put in place, we have become the leader in renewables. This shows that even if the ITC were to be revoked, it would not stop the progression of solar.
The ITC extension was set in 2006 to bring additional growth within the residential solar sector. More solar placed on homeowners roofs means more jobs for Americans. In California alone, the solar industry employs over 75,000 people. The growth of solar industry came at a time when jobs were needed in America. With that, this industry has become highly competitive and we as Americans have embraced solar.
It would be hard for the President elect to deny the major impact solar has had on the economy. With California leading the way for renewable energy it appears that solar is not going anywhere. For an industry to provide so many benefits on multiple levels shows that the solar industry is a growing industry.