Today both Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) spoke up for solar at the Solar Power International (SPI) conference at Las Vegas calling it critical to the US and its energy future. The remarks follow a new effort from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which Reid supported in earlier remarks at the show.
"We are big on solar,” Moniz said. “The fundamental case is extremely strong, built on both technology and business model innovation, but we have to keep working together to grow solar in this country." Moniz said that solar was critical to the United States’ efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and to reach that point further cost reductions in solar power must be made.
"Cost reduction, as we have seen dramatically in solar energy, is very much a part of shaping our clean energy future," Moniz said. "We've seen costs of modules decline by nearly 80 percent,” he added.
As a solar power industry continues to grow it is still important that is supported by federal incentives hence both SEIA and Reid are supporting an extension of the ITC. The ITC currently offers solar installations of any size a 30 percent federal tax break reducing the cost of solar power significantly. The new SEIA campaign seeks to extend the ITC beyond its sunset date of 2016.
Earlier this week at SPI SEIA President Rhone Resch commented on the disparity between federal renewable energy incentives and federal incentives for fossil fuel-based energy sources: “Since the United States first began incentivizing energy development, the average annual subsidy has been $4.8 billion for oil and gas, compared to just $370 million for all renewable technologies," he stated. "How is this fair? How is this a leveling playing field? How does this kind of policy support an 'all-of-the-above' energy policy? Simply put, it doesn’t."
"These incentives help to make solar more affordable to consumers and more attractive to investors. Letting these critically important incentives expire is not an option," Raid said.
The policy has helped drive the popularity of solar power, which has also reduced the cost significantly, since it has helped more companies get into installing solar and producing solar panels.
It's not just residential consumers who are interested in solar today either. “Some of the world's largest companies are deploying solar on a massive scale—Apple, FedEx, GM, Google, Walmart and many more," Moniz said.Tweet