Expressing concerns that House Republicans will exploit the Solyndra bankruptcy by allowing critical solar industry incentives to expire this year, a report commissioned by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) argues how important it is to extend Treasury Department grants to add jobs to our ailing economy.
SEIA wants the incentives to be extended for another year, saying it would create 37,400 jobs in 2012 and an additional 2000 MW of solar capacity by 2016, enough to power 400,000 homes.
"More than 100,000 Americans work in the solar industry, double the number in 2009. Solar is a proven job creator at a time when the unemployment rate for the country remains stubbornly high," says Rhone Resch, SEIA CEO. "The 1603 Treasury Program has been the single most effective policy driving renewable energy growth during the past two years."
The Section 1603 Treasury Program allows solar developers the option of either receiving an up-front grant or a tax credit.
The program, established as part of the stimulus bill in 2009, expires this year. Capital available for solar projects is still hard to come by, and investors still need grants, not tax credits, SEIA says.
The program doesn't create new incentives, it simply accelerates the timing of the existing credit. This solution was designed to provide the liquidity needed for development of domestic energy projects during difficult financial times.
"At a time when President Obama and Congress are looking for solutions for America's jobs crisis, it would be unconscionable to allow this proven job-creating program to expire. The bottom line is that our capital markets are still in trouble and this program is needed today as much as it was when it was created. Killing the 1603 Program amounts to a tax increase on the thousands of small businesses that are creating solar jobs."
Here's the report: