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Tell Congress to Extend the Solar Tax Credit, but Not Like This!

Avatar for Ben Zientara
Published on 12/16/2015 in
Updated 02/28/2018

We’ve written a lot about the benefits of the Federal government’s Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which for years has given owners of solar installations 30% of their costs back as income tax credits. The ITC is the most successful solar policy in our nation’s history. It is largely responsible for huge declines in the cost of installing solar, and for the growth of an important new industry, with thousands of good-paying jobs that have helped our economy at a critical time.

And it is going away at the end of next year. Or at least, we thought it was…

The ITC was set to expire at the end of 2016 for homeowners, and to be reduced from 30% to 10% for commercial interests. We’ve advocated for it to be extended into the future at the full 30%, because we think it’s vitally important to continue helping the solar industry as is grows. And today, it looks like a deal has been reached to extend the ITC until 2022.

But rather than celebrate today’s agreement, we have to tell you about why it’s a dirty deal, and beg you to contact your congressional representatives and ask them to get it out of there. Here’s the skinny:

The Omnibus Spending Bill set for a vote this week in the House includes a provision to extend the ITC, but in exchange for conceding to that amendment, Congressional Republicans inserted language that lifts a 40-year ban on oil exports. That’s bad, because the increase in domestic oil production that is likely to follow could result in carbon emissions that far outweigh the positive impact of the ITC extension, not to mention billions of dollars of profits for oil companies and the loss of good union jobs to outsourced labor.

At this point, it looks like it’s all done but the signing, but we’re asking you to do us, yourself, your kids, and your great-great-great grandkids a solid: find out who your representative is and send them an email asking them to nix the language ending the oil ban. Tell them it’s not okay to trade the future of the world for something that the vast majority of all Americans of any political affiliation agree with.

Last modified: February 28, 2018

13 thoughts on “Tell Congress to Extend the Solar Tax Credit, but Not Like This!

  1. Avatar for Marcelo Pacheco Marcelo Pacheco says:

    Lifting the export embargo is somewhat positive because it helps lift oil prices.

  2. Avatar for Jim Jim says:

    Here’s a point I think many people are missing – ending the US oil export ban doesn’t do anything to increase the use of oil. Right now the world is in a glut of oil, there’s way more available than there is being used. So when Driller Dan in Texas sells his barrel of oil to Refinery Ron in Mexico, that just means that Driller David in Venezuela sells one less barrel. Would you rather Japan buy its oil from USA producers, or from Russian or Middle East producers? And the flip side is that this oil4solar compromise made by congress will cause the installation of solar to explode, which will further reduce the need for oil. So this deal actually causes less oil to be drilled and burned in the long run which is a huge win for solar and the environment, and a medium/long term lose for petroleum worldwide while causing a short term win for USA petroleum.

  3. Avatar for Personette Personette says:

    While I would love to believe that any member of Congress opposing the Republican and Big Oil agenda would change anything, I am older, wiser and a realist. We need to move the budget to a compromise to prevent another shut down that only hurts the tax payer. We can also realize that There may be some short term political and security benefits from selling US oil to countries currently relying on oil from Russia or the Middle East. I believe China and India are nearing a tipping point where public health concerns will begin to move them to consider non- petroleum energy sources, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Push expansion of alternative technologies and go sell them!

  4. Avatar for Warren Warren says:

    Carbon emissions, are good, what do you think plants scrub out of the air to feed on and make more oxygen, so called environmentalists are really just anti capitalists, and anti progress. How come all the blow hard self righteous tree hugging earth first crowd doesn’t a Quaker lifestyle that is tied to agriculture and animal husbandry without all the energy hogging technology that causes their beloved global warming? And why don’t they ever talk about controlling the number one cause of everything they want to stop,PEOPLE? Control population by making the personal decision to stop having babies that will eventually want government handouts and subsidies, reduce human population and save the world for the animals, YAY, everything is solved, except radical Islam, we should declare that a political movement not a religious one, and then take it from there.

  5. Avatar for Gary Gary says:

    Politics is messy and compromise is the only way it works without super majorities (which allows one group to ignore input from the minority voting block, even if it has merit). In a divided congress this is an amazing deal. I for one am very content.

  6. Avatar for Tim Dolan Tim Dolan says:

    Given that solar just needs a couple more years and the oil thing will likely result in higher gas prices overall for US citizens, which will in turn will cause more folks to switch to electric cars. While I would prefer it not being tied to the oil, I am okay with it. Given the current makeup of congress it was very likely they would try to get the oil thing through without the solar credit extension, so I do see this overall as a good thing. Could be better, but that is what you get sometimes.

  7. Avatar for sharon sharon says:

    @Ron- the hypocriscy of the Republicans is astounding. All we hear from them is about energy independence and getting off of our “enemies” oil. Yet now they’re proposing to lift the ban on exporting crude oil. How will selling off all of our resources lead to energy independence. There is always poison slipped into any legislation that they propose. it’s never about what is best for the citizens of our nation but rather what is in the best interest of their coprorate masters. Yet we should be grateful??!!.

  8. Avatar for Andrew S. Andrew S. says:

    It sounds like a pretty great compromise actually. If anything, the GOP was generous because, for the price of oil exports, the Democrats got more than just the ITC extension. Plus, by the time this extension has expired, wind and solar will likely outcompete with oil, gas, and even coal on an open market.

  9. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, all. The worry here is that an increase in domestic production could offset much of the gains made in carbon emissions. There are some numbers floating around, from the EIA and others, that show oil production could increase by an average of as much as 2 million barrels per day between now and 2025, which would exceed the carbon savings from the ITC extension by almost double. Even if the increase is significantly lower than that, we just don’t think it’s a good idea.

    Like Bill McKibben says in the article linked above, we can’t keep making these trade-offs in the name of politics.

  10. Avatar for Ghengis Kahn Ghengis Kahn says:

    I appreciate all SPR.com does.. but I agree with Ron Simon. I can’t see all the positives from this legislation nixed by exporting our oil. We produce a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of the world. This is a win folks.

  11. Avatar for Gary Gary says:

    The oil is already being pumped out of the ground, and barring an improbable shift in public sentiment away from all conservative candidates this is as close to a compromise as we are likely to see. I see it as a win-win for long-term energy policy.

  12. Avatar for Ron simon Ron simon says:

    Sounds like a win win to me, stop being so selfish!!!

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Well, it isn’t about ourselves. The ITC extension is very good for us in the solar industry, but the oil export reinstatement is very bad for everyone, from a CO2 into that atmosphere standpoint.

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