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Solar Picks Up a Big Win on the Heels of a Consequential Year

Thursday, Jan 28 2021

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By
Abigail Ross Hopper

Last year was a year like no other, filled with pain and suffering, resilience, bravery and immense uncertainty. The holidays, normally a time to unwind and decompress with loved ones, looked much different this year for most Americans.

As the national voice for the U.S. solar industry, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) spent the year tirelessly advocating for our companies and workers impacted by COVID-19. As tens of thousands of solar workers lost their jobs and projects got delayed and canceled, we brought policy solutions to lawmakers so that our industry could recover, and in turn help our economy recover.

Our industry remained resilient and adapted to both virtual sales and remote permitting and inspections. We also found safe ways to build projects after SEIA secured essential service status for the industry from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, turning what could have been a setback year into one of our strongest.

In the end, our advocacy efforts were successful. As part of a broad end-of-year spending package, SEIA secured a two-year extension of the 26% solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), along with new funding and spending targets for solar research and development, clean energy production on federal lands, and a boost for efforts to streamline solar permitting and inspection.

ITC Stepdown GIF

Getting these policies through Congress and signed by the president sets our industry up for success in 2021, but much work remains to ensure that our success continues.

Over the next several years, we have an opportunity to advance bold clean energy and climate policies, including many of the priorities in SEIA’s 100-day agenda. That starts with immediately removing tariffs on solar cells and modules, making ITC benefits available as a direct payment, investing in infrastructure and clean energy manufacturing, and ensuring there is adequate funding to support programs like SolarAPP.

I would be remiss if I didn’t underscore the importance of prioritizing equity and justice throughout all of these efforts. If we reach our goals for the Solar+ Decade, the industry will need to grow nearly seven times its size over the next 9 years, and it’s imperative that the jobs and economic benefits of that growth reach communities that have traditionally been left behind.

Thanks to the wins we secured in 2020, I’m more optimistic than ever for the future of our industry.

I want to thank our solar champions on both sides of the aisle for recognizing the role that solar can play in our economic recovery, and importantly, I want to thank you and all solar allies for participating in this advocacy journey.

Nothing would get done without the strong, singular voice of our solar workers and advocates. Rest assured, we will be calling on you in 2021 to help move the solar industry’s vision forward.

Let’s finish what we’ve started.


 

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