- Solar industry advocates are steeling themselves for a "bare knuckle brawl" to protect federal tax incentives aimed at growing the electricity generation resource. PV Tech reports they are taking aim at a recent study from the conservative Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) of solar industry subsidies, claiming that the numbers are inaccurate and dishonest.
- Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) VP Ken Johnson said the claim in the report, "Filling the Solar Sinkhole: Billions of Bucks Have Delivered Too Little Bang," that solar has received $39 billion in annual grants, tax credits, and loans for the past five years is impossible since the industry’s market value is $15 billion.
- TPA’s report said solar’s investment tax credit (ITC) and other industry supports are “draining the economy.” The ITC is scheduled to drop from 30% to 10% for commercial solar and to zero for residential solar at the end of 2016. Extension is supported by the Obama administration.
Of the TPA report’s 26 references, 16 are reportedly from organizations that were either founded by or received Koch brothers funding.
“By their own estimates, oil and gas tax breaks amount to a staggering $100 billion over 10 years,” Johnson said. “So how do the Koch brothers divert attention away from this? They prod conservative groups, many of which they fund directly or indirectly, to attack clean energy.”
The TPS report contains lengthy accounts of the DOE loan guarantee-backed Solyndra and Abound Solar bankruptcies but fails to note DOE loan guarantees were 97% successful and are expected to eventually earn the federal government at least $8 billion in interest payments.
“Aside from spelling solar correctly, much of the report is untrue or misleading,” Johnson said. “This is fuzzy math, and dirty tricks, at their very worst."
“For years, conservatives have been brainwashed into believing solar is bad,” Atlanta Tea Party Patriots Co-Chair Debbie Dooley recently told Utility Dive.
The solar industry employs nearly 175,000 people in the U.S. and solar jobs have increased 85% in the last four years.