House’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill packed with pro-solar, pro-storage provisions

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House Democrats have introduced the Moving Forward Act, a sweeping $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that, if signed into law, will have a lasting positive impact on the solar and storage industries. In addition to making stand-alone energy storage investment tax credit (ITC) eligible and extending a 30% solar ITC through 2025, before a phase out process kicks in, the House bill creates a direct pay mechanism that can be used in lieu of the ITC.

“We know that the with the right policies in place, including many of those proposed in the Moving Forward Act, clean energy can add hundreds of billions of dollars in investment and perhaps a million or more jobs back into the economy,” Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Industries Association (SEIA) said.

For the storage industry, ITC eligibility, as proposed in the Moving Forward Act, could help offset reductions and delays in market deployments in both the near- and medium-term due to COVID-19, Kelly Speakes-Backman, CEO of the U.S. Energy Storage Association said. Energy storage companies have been dealing with widespread project delays and reduced revenues.

“The [entire] renewable sector continues to be in need of commonsense emergency relief to mitigate ongoing pandemic-related impacts in forthcoming COVID legislation,” Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy said.

Overall, the bill proposes investing more than $70 billion to transform the U.S. electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy, expand renewable energy deployment, strengthen infrastructure and help develop an electric vehicle charging network. It creates a grant program aimed at expanding renewable energy access to low-income home owners, multi-family affordable housing complexes and underserviced solar areas, which it defines as areas with low or no PV deployment. It also includes grants for energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements that help public schools reduce their energy costs.

According to SEIA, close to 90% of Americans support policies to promote a clean energy future. But the Moving Forward Act’s fate is far from certain, even though President Trump has been promising a $1 trillion infrastructure plan since his 2016 campaign. The House of Representatives plans to vote on the Moving Forward Act before July 4.

Infrastructure spending is widely seen as capable of buffering the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has caused record job losses in the U.S.