- Legislation introduced in Congress July 25 would extend the full 30% solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for five years, rather than begin a phaseout at the end of this year.
- The Renewable Energy Extension would also extend the ITC for other clean energy technologies, including fiber-optic solar, fuel cells, small wind, microturbines, combined heat and power, and geothermal heat pumps.
- Federal tax incentives for wind and solar were extended in a bipartisan deal in 2015. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev. introduced the bill in the Senate and earlier this summer led more than a dozen senators in a call for existing tax credits like the ITC and residential renewable energy tax credit to be preserved.
In a hyper-partisan environment, it is unclear what chance the legislation stands. But proponents say the solar tax credit has been key to growing the country's renewable resources and extending it will help ensure continued deployment.
"These bills are clear, easy wins members of Congress can deliver to their constituents," Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement. "Polling shows that Americans across the political spectrum are concerned about our changing climate and they strongly support solar."
Cortez Masto has been pushing to extend the incentives. In a June letter with 19 other Democratic senators, she called on the Senate Finance Committee to prioritize and preserve existing tax credits.
"In the absence of any other national policy or program to deliver carbon reductions that are essential to making progress on climate change, we must continue the tax incentive policies that constitute the core of federal policy and single most effective tool our nation has had for investing in renewables and growing the economy," they wrote.
Some 15 other Democrats joined Cortez Mastro in introducing the Senate bill. In the House, companion legislation was introduced July 25 by a bipartisan group of lawmakers: Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., Paul Cook, R-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.
"This tax credit is a key part of increasing the use of clean energy technologies and it helps our environment. And we know it works, the ITC produced billions in investment last year alone," Thompson said in a statement.