Over 90 members join push to support solar and clean energy alternatives
Congressman Brian Higgins, D-NY-26, led a coalition of more than 90 members of the House of Representatives in calling for the extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit as a means to advance economic opportunity and support the growth of clean energy.
"The expiration of renewable energy tax credits hits the breaks on the great momentum building in the area of clean energy alternatives," Higgins said. "This slow-down is completely unnecessary and one that consumers, businesses, our environment and economy can't afford."
The Solar Investment Tax Credit, set to expire in 2016, provides residential and commercial users with a 30 percent tax credit toward solar energy systems. Since established in 2005, the solar credit has helped solar installations grow by 1,600 percent.
Production Tax Credit provides a per kilowatt-hour tax credit for the generation and sale of qualified energy resources such as wind, thermal and bioenergy. The credit, which began in 1992 and expired in 2014, helped to support the growth in wind power over the past two decades.
Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said, "These critical tax cuts will help ensure that we create hundreds of thousands more clean energy jobs to drive our economy forward, building on the incredible progress that has already been made. This is not the time to stop that progress for working families who depend on this booming sector of the economy."
In a letter to the House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, the members wrote, "Predictable and consistent federal energy tax policy will help these young industries to continue thriving. Renewable energy businesses, developers and investors value the certainty necessary to make long-term investments that will promote job growth and reduce energy prices for consumers. We urge you to demonstrate your commitment to American energy independence by supporting these important pro-grown priorities."
Higgins and Richard Hanna, R-NY-22, also recently introduced H.R. 3852, a bill aimed at shedding light on the benefits of solar net metering. Under net metering, customers are only billed for their net energy use; any additional energy production is added to the energy grid providing the consumer with credit toward future energy consumption. Residential consumers operating under net metering will see their electric meter run backward when they make more power than they use.
Higgins' Western New York district includes: the Niagara Power Project, which supplies a quarter of the power used in New York and Ontario; Steel Winds, a Lackawanna wind turbine farm along the shores of Lake Erie on the former Bethlehem Steel plant brownfield site; and the future home of the SolarCity manufacturing facility in Buffalo.