Solar Energy Spending Bill to Create 140,000 Jobs, Including Veterans

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The omnibus spending bill that passed Congress on Friday included crucial tax breaks for the solar and wind energy industries.

Before Friday’s bill, solar and wind companies had been utilizing an investment tax credit that gave them a 30 percent tax break on the price of such alternative energy systems. Starting in 2017, the credits were set to decrease down to 10 percent under the notion that the solar and wind industries would be fully matured by then, meaning they would no longer need such tax breaks to operate.

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The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill, which cleared the house on Friday and included a large spending boost to NASA among other things, gave the solar and wind industries a five-year extension on the tax credits. Now the 30 percent credit will stay in place until 2019, at which point it will gradually decrease to 10 percent by 2022.

The move is expected to lift a huge burden from the industry’s shoulders. According to the Orange County Register, such alternative energy companies were expected to install 11.9 gigawatts worth of solar panels by the end of 2016, which would have greatly stretched the industry’s capabilities. Now, with the extension, they are aiming for a much more feasible 9.1 gigawatts of panels.

“A turbo-charged 2016 would have an impact on jobs and make it difficult to plan hiring for the boom-bust cycle,” Tom Werner, chief executive of SunPower Corp, told the Register.

Such tax credits go to homeowners installing panels on their homes and companies doing large industrial projects.

“Currently there are 200,000 solar jobs, and the extension is likely to add another 140,000 jobs or more,” Rhone Resch, president and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement. “And with this extension, the solar industry can achieve its pledge of employing 50,000 veterans by 2020, a goal our industry takes very seriously.  These jobs are stable, well-paying and cannot be exported overseas.”

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The extension of the investment tax credit, according to SEIA, should lead to $125 billion in private sector investment in the U.S. economy. By 2022, the industry is expected to triple current solar energy and reach upwards of 95 gigawatts, which would represent 3.5 percent of U.S. electricity generation.

The extension of the credit has been widely praised and shows bipartisan support for clean, renewable energy in America’s future.

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About the author: Gary Joshua Garrison

 

Gary Joshua Garrison is the Prose Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. His fiction has appeared in various locations around the World Wide Web, as well as in bound reams of paper. His nonfictional musing can be found at Luminary Daily and Way Too Indie. He writes, teaches, and goes to the movies in the desert of Arizona with his well-postured cat, Widget.

Website: http://garyjgarrison.com/

 

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