Public policy and government action, whether at the local, state, or federal level, will be critical to tackling the climate crisis and building a clean energy future in America. As an industry that deploys clean, reliable, affordable electricity, SEIA recognizes the critical role for environmental justice in these policy discussions, and the need for climate solutions to take into account the disproportionate impacts felt by frontline communities.
SEIA has an ambitious but achievable goal – solar energy will constitute 20% of all U.S. electricity generation by 2030. To reach this target, we must grow our industry by 18% annually and install more than 500 gigawatts (“GW”) of solar projects by the end of 2030, building upon the nearly 100 GW of solar energy capacity that exists today. Achieving the 20% by 2030 goal will result in hundreds of thousands of new jobs, more than 14 million solar rooftops, and 500 million metric tons of avoided CO2 emissions.
The 2020 election will have tremendous consequences for the future of energy and climate policy in the United States. To meet this moment and provide guidance for the incoming Biden administration and new members of Congress, SEIA has prepared a 100-day legislative and executive agenda.
COVID-19 is Harming Tax Equity Financing At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we heard scattered reports of medium- and long-term decreases to the availability of tax equity financing, as well as those who faced immediate challenges.
The Solar Investment Tax Credit Has Spurred Job Creation The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is one of the most successful clean energy policies in U.S. history and has helped the industry grow by more than 10,000% since it was enacted in 2006. A long-term extension of the ITC was passed by Congress in bipartisan fashion in 2015. This extension included a phasedown schedule that began at the end of 2019. The current 26% credit will step down to 22% at the end of 2020. Before the COVID-19 recession, solar companies added more than 150,000 U.S.
SEIA's Solar Means Business Report tracks solar adoption from America's corporations and businesses. SEIA members at the Watt level and above have access to the full dataset behind this report, containing project level data for more than 38,000 individual commercial solar systems.
Dozens of major corporations and global brands signed a letter to Congressional leadership, urging them to pass measures in upcoming COVID-19 recovery legislation that will spur clean energy growth.
Nearly 650 solar companies signed a letter to Congress on July 13, 2020, urging them to include policies that will support the solar industry as the U.S. recovers from COVID-19. The list includes many of the largest manufacturers, owners, developers, installers and operators of solar projects across the country.
SEIA filed comments on June 15 arguing against policies requested by the New England Rate Payers Association (NERA). SEIA's comments state that jurisdiction over net metering rests with the states and local regulatory bodies and granting a petition to have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulate retail programs would represent an unlawful federal power grab.
As Congress looks to put Americans back to work in response to the COVID-19 crisis, the clean energy economy offers an enormous opportunity. Clean energy industries such as solar were among the fastest-growing sectors of the economy before the pandemic hit, with significant potential to create new jobs and spur the investments that are needed to put the U.S. back on track.