“Hallelujah” could be heard throughout the nation’s solar industry last Friday when the U.S. Congress signed a budget bill that also extended the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) paying homeowners and businesses 30% of the price of their solar energy systems. The ITC has been a huge driver behind solar adoption, so this is a very welcome holiday gift to solar installers, people looking to go solar, and most of all, the planet.
The net environmental impact of the budget bill I’m sure will be studied by analysts in the coming weeks, but for solar, there’s no doubt it’s a big win. With the ITC previously set to expire at the end of next year, companies like New England Clean Energy were faced with the challenge of staffing for a boom year in 2016 followed by a bust year in 2017. Now, we have certainty again, and solar should continue to grow at a steady pace for the foreseeable future.
For any of you anti-subsidy people out there, don’t worry. The fossil fuel industries are so far ahead on the amount of government subsidies received that renewables may never catch up. And some (like me) would argue that it’s not a subsidy anyway, since solar provides more economic, societal and environmental value than cost.
Happy holidays, and here’s to a sunny (but not unseasonably warm) New Year.
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