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Softer Solar Landings: Options to Avoid the Investment Tax Credit Cliff

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Federal tax policies have been an important driver for solar’s recent remarkable growth, but without action during the 114th Congress, the 30-percent investment tax credit (ITC) for solar and other clean energy technologies will expire at the end of 2016. If Congress were to allow this policy shock to occur, the economics of solar investments would worsen, reducing solar deployments in 2017 and beyond. Solar jobs would be lost, and solar cost reductions would be delayed. While these negative impacts of current law are undeniable, their magnitude remains an open question. This policy brief estimates the impacts that current law would have on the solar industry. It also formulates several policy alternatives and estimates their effectiveness at mitigating the negative impacts of the investment tax credit cliff embedded within current law.

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