WASHINGTON, DC – Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA®) President and CEO Rhone Resch released the following statement today applauding the Senate's inclusion of a one-year extension of the Department of Treasury Section 1603 program in their tax bill compromise:
"The 1603 tax credit has created flexibility for funding renewable energy projects and is fundamental for keeping the solar industry growing in America. To date, the program has facilitated the construction of more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states. At a minimal cost to the tax payer, the 1603 program has supported $18 billion in investment in new renewable energy projects throughout the country and has created tens of thousands of jobs. Plain and simple, this program provides the greatest return on taxpayer dollars. The program has allowed the solar industry to grow by over 100 percent in 2010, create enough new solar capacity to power 200,000 homes and double domestic solar employment to more than 93,000 Americans. This program has created new opportunity for electricians, plumbers, and construction workers during the worst economic climate since the great depression.
"An extension of the program will keep our U.S. industry growing and help achieve the industry's goal of installing enough new solar energy to power 2 million new homes each year by 2015. None of this would be possible without the tireless leadership of solar's champions on Capitol Hill on both sides of the aisle. In particular, Senators Cantwell, Feinstein, Ensign and LeMieux stepped up to support American jobs in the renewable energy industry and helped convince the Senate to include this provision in the final bill.
"But this is not over yet. Congress must now move swiftly to pass this compromise bill and keep solar working for America."
The TGP was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Section 1603) to provide commercial solar installations with a cash grant in lieu of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit (ITC). President George W. Bush signed the 8-year ITC into law in 2008, but the economic conditions created by the global recession made it clear that few would be able to utilize the tax credit.
So far, the TGP has helped move forward more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states. A report on the impact of the extension of the TGP by EuPD Research projected it would create 65,000 new U.S. jobs and 5,100 megawatts of solar capacity – enough to power more than 1 million households.
SEIA policy overview of Treasury Grant Program: Treasury Grant Program
Fact sheet on TGP and job creation: Fact-sheet TGP.
Summary of solar projects awarded a Treasury Grant: TGP Awards
EuPD Research "Economic Impact of the Extension of the TGP": EuPD Research Solar Report.
The Solar Foundation National Solar Jobs Census 2010: Solar Jobs Census 2010
SEIA and GTM Research US Solar Market InsightTM Executive Summary: SEIA Q2 2010 Executive Summary.