The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) has launched a new site, WeAreTeamSolar.com, to support an extension of the Investment Tax Credit for solar installations as part of upcoming tax extenders' legislation.
The ITC has been an instrumental tool in expanding solar power in the U.S. over the past decade and the solar industry credits it for much of the growth in the industry.
The new site, which encourages visitors to write their legislators and has an online letter writing campaign, is designed to inform people and legislators about the solar industry's successes with ITC, including creating nearly 150,000 jobs since the credit was created a decade ago.TASC protest. Courtesy TASC's FB page"Thousands of people are already engaging in our campaign, urging Congress to include solar in this year's tax extenders legislation," said Evan Dube, TASC spokesperson. The organization is advertising the campaign in 17 states and TASC said it has already engaged more than 12,000 people in the letter-writing campaign.
"Solar energy is critical to an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and to ensure that solar is part of the mix, the industry needs certainty from our legislators now," Dube said. "The solar ITC goes a small way to level the playing field against decades of fossil fuel subsidies."
Unless legislators take action the tax credit will sunset at the end of 2016. "Without the extension, industry experts predict that 90 percent of all solar companies could go out of business and thousands of jobs could be lost," TASC asserted.
While it's true that the cost of solar panels has plummeted in years past and future cost reductions are expected in the soft costs of solar power, the energy source will be more costly if the ITC isn't extended, putting it at a disadvantage when compared to fossil fuel and nuclear energy sources that enjoy permanent federal subsidies. "In the energy space, the relatively young solar industry is competing against the hundred year-old utility and fossil fuel industry. Established fossil fuel industries maintain their advantage thanks to dozens of federal subsidies while the solar industry relies on one: the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)."
TASC also said it is seeing bipartisan support for extending the ITC in the Senate. "Nevada Senator Dean Heller called for solar to get the same treatment as every other energy industry during a Senate Finance Committee hearing earlier this summer. Senators Maria Cantwell, Chuck Schumer, Michael Bennett, and Rob Portman have also voiced support."
TASC, which is supported by rooftop solar installers, is just one of a number of organizations fighting to keep the ITC. Earlier this year the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) called on people to write Senators to support an extension of the ITC. Meanwhile Obama wants to make it permanent, allowing solar the same type of reliable subsidies that fossil fuels enjoy.