Tonko Pushes for Solar Tax Credits in Year-End Budge

WASHINGTON – December 14, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20) this week continued his campaign to advance renewable sources of energy in asking Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to include in a year-end tax extender package key priorities related to the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

“Investments in clean energy clean up the air we breathe and the water we drink while creating jobs and growing the economy. That’s a win-win. The solar ITC needs to be extended to create certainty for homeowners and businesses that are thinking about installing solar power. We harness more than twenty times as much electricity from the sun as we did when President Obama took office. Let us build on that success in extending the solar ITC,” said Tonko.

The Solar ITC, a 30% credit on residential and commercial solar systems, has fueled rapid growth in the solar industry, which now employs in excess of 174,000 Americans and has supplied 40% of all new electric generating capacity brought online through 2015 thus far, more than any other energy source.

However, absent action by Congress, at the end of 2016 the commercial credit will drop to 10% and the residential credit will plummet to zero. The failure to extend the ITC is projected to cause a 71% drop in solar deployments and cost 100,000 American jobs. By contrast, if the ITC were extended long-term, the solar industry would produce enough electricity to power 19 million homes by the end of 2022.

Tonko is a cosponsor of H.R. 2412, the New Energy for America Act, which extends investment tax credits (ITC) for energy efficient residential and commercial property through 2021.

Text of the letter, led by Congressman Brian Higgins of New York, is below:

Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi,

As consideration of a year-end tax extender package continues, we write to respectfully request that several key priorities related to the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) be included in any final package.

The Solar ITC, a 30% credit on residential (Section 25D) and commercial (Section 48) solar systems, has fueled rapid growth in the solar industry, which now employs in excess of 174,000 Americans and has supplied 40% of all new electric generating capacity brought online through 2015 thus far, more than any other energy source.

However, absent action by Congress, at the end of 2016 the commercial credit will drop to 10% and the residential credit will plummet to zero. The failure to extend the ITC is projected to cause a 71% drop in solar deployments and cost 100,000 American jobs. By contrast, if the ITC were extended long-term, the solar industry would produce enough electricity to power 19 million homes by the end of 2022.

To that end, we ask that if a two year tax extender bill is the final vehicle, the requirement that ITC eligible solar projects be placed in service before the expiration of the credit be modified so that such projects can instead be eligible to receive the credit once the construction has begun, also known as ‘commence construction.’ In the event long term tax extender legislation is negotiated, it should include a multi-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit beginning in 2017 and ‘commence construction.’

We thank you for being mindful of these priorities, which are immensely important to solar energy businesses, developers and investors, providing them with the certainty necessary to make long term investments that will promote job growth and reduce energy prices for consumers.

Sincerely,

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