As part of a larger Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) campaign to have transformative solar and clean energy policies in upcoming federal infrastructure legislation, nearly 750 companies from across the U.S. solar supply chain signed onto a letter urging Congress to enact policies that will spur clean energy development and fight climate change.
Included in the letter are six policy actions that SEIA and the signess see as critical to raising solar’s share of the nation’s generation profile to 20% by 2030 and at least 40% by 2035:
- Lengthen and strengthen the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) at the 30% rate
- Address financing challenges and shortfalls by adding direct pay provisions to the ITC and help the industry reach ambitious deployment goals
- Add standalone energy storage to the ITC to help the U.S. meet our energy needs and enhance the resilience of our electricity supply
- Pass robust investments in clean energy that increase demand for solar while offering long-term certainty for companies willing to invest in American manufacturing, including additional incentives for solar equipment and components built here in the U.S.
- Address grid resilience and necessary upgrades to accommodate all the new renewable energy coming online, including transmission and interconnection
- Support training programs and equitable policies that continue to build a strong, diverse solar workforce
“The science is clear: we must rapidly decarbonize the electric grid to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and the ITC is the most effective policy we have to drive solar deployment in the United States,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper, who continued on to call the ITC a “proven job creator,” that will be necessary to to clean up the grid and create the millions of jobs necessary to build an equitable clean energy economy.
All of the listed guidelines represent the investment deemed necessary in order to quadruple expected annual capacity additions, a measure that will be needed to bring solar to the generation shares laid out above. With increased capacity comes a need for more solar workers to get these projects designed, developed and built, and SEIA shares that the size of the solar workforce must quadruple to more than 900,000 Americans by 2035.
Solar is currently a $25 billion industry that employs over 231,000 Americans. That figure is down roughly 6.7% from the number of Americans employed in solar in 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The policy guidelines included in the letter echo the calls to action that SEIA has been making for the better part of the year. In a June webinar, SEIA advocated for an expansive, lengthy extension of the federal solar investment tax credit, the inclusion of a separate tax credit for energy storage systems, and the creation of a direct-pay system.
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