WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5), a senior Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Tuesday introduced, H.R. 2412, the New Energy for America Act which extends investment tax credits (ITC) for energy efficient residential and commercial property through 2021.
“The ITC is one of the most important tools we have that supports the deployment of solar energy in the United States,” said Thompson. “Since 2006, when the residential and commercial ITCs first took effect, employment in the U.S. solar industry has grown to 175,000 jobs at more than 8,000 solar companies. It has a proven track record of success and it’s important that we extend it.”
“The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is paying huge dividends for America. Today, the solar industry is pumping $18 billion a year into our economy and creating tens of thousands of new jobs,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “By 2016, we will be generating enough clean solar energy nationwide to power 8 million homes, offsetting 45 million metric tons of damaging carbon emissions – the equivalent of removing 10 million cars off our roads and highways. We applaud Congressman Thompson for his continued leadership on issues vital to our economy and environment – and thank all of the original co-sponsors for joining him in this important effort to build a clean energy future for America.”
In 2008, the ITC was extended for eight years. Over the past eight years, the ITC has leveraged billions in investment in American solar facilities, resulting in installed capacity equal to 97 percent of total solar in America.
The installed cost of solar power has also fallen by 73 percent since 2006, and prices continue to drop while efficiencies of solar panels have increased.
However, the U.S. solar energy is facing a steep cliff with the looming expiration of the residential and commercial ITCs at the end of 2016. If the credits are allowed to expire, these gains in the solar industry will be placed at risk before the cost of solar energy reaches parity with traditional energy resources.
Thompson’s bill addresses this by extending residential and commercial ITCs for an additional five years, the point at which many energy analysts believe that the cost of solar will reach grid parity in most U.S. electricity markets.
The New Energy for America Act would also extend the ITC credits for other promising clean energy technologies, such as fuel cells, stationary microturbines, combined heat and power property, small wind and geothermal heating and cooling property.
H.R. 2412 has been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.