Solar Investment Tax Credit – What does it mean for me?

The U.S. government just extended the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). Great! But wait, what is the ITC and why should I care about this news? Well, the ITC extension means there’s money on the table for homeowners looking to go solar. How much you ask?

The ITC allows you to claim up to 30% of the price you pay to install solar panels, which significantly reduces the cost of going solar. That’s $8,000-10,000 in savings for most households. This is a big opportunity for folks looking to go solar. If you’re exploring whether solar is a good fit for your home, ask your tax professional if the ITC is a good fit for your financial situation. It’s worth checking out.

So, we know the ITC is a benefit to individual households across Vermont and nationwide, but what does this mean for the bigger picture? It gets even better.

Competitive and Stable Energy Source

Solar isn’t the new kid on the block – we’ve been around for a while – but the solar industry is seeing unprecedented affordability and accessibility.

According to a recent Forbes article: “The U.S. solar industry has reached a degree of maturity, with low panel prices, improving energy yields, falling installation costs and the availability of low-cost financing[…]making solar increasingly competitive with fossil fuel-based power generation sources.”

Solar Investment Tax Credit

The beauty of solar is that it is a technology. We don’t rely on digging, fracking or burning of dirty, finite fossil fuels to make energy. Our resource isn’t buried underground – it pours from the sky. Every. Single. Day. A big hurdle was developing and improving a technology that could harness our most powerful resource.

“Solar isn’t just a promising technology. It’s a real, deployable tool and platform for a next-generation electricity grid. The regulations and innovations that come together in the second half of this decade will set the stage for what the future of electricity in the U.S. looks like,” said MJ Shiao, Green Tech Media’s director of Solar Research.

Energy consultant Ron Binz says: “[Renewables] are becoming cheaper and cheaper and will eventually become the cheapest resource that we can use.”

Solar Investment Tax Credit
Solar Investment Tax Credit
Solar Investment Tax Credit

Environmental Benefit

 By 2021, the amount of carbon offset by U.S. solar will match the emissions of 27 typical coal power plants or 20 million passenger vehicles.” – SEIA.org

Wow. This is progress. When you read stories, like this NY Times piece, that cite figures like “The heat accumulating in the Earth because of human emissions is roughly equal to the heat that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs exploding across the planet every day” it’s easy to feel powerless and completely overwhelmed. But this solar “rooftop revolution” is very real and growing rapidly. Will your home be part of the progress?

SEIA.org reports that “by 2020, the industry will deploy more than 20 GW of solar electricity annually – more than double what it is today.” That’s enough capacity to power more than 20 million U.S. homes. 

Economy

“The extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC) for homeowners and businesses will lead sustained growth in the U.S. Solar Industry. By 2020, the industry will employ more than 420,000 workers – more than double what it is today.” – SEIA.org

Job growth is always good news – but job growth in the clean energy sector responsible for deploying safe, clean, renewable energy nationwide? That’s great news, and it’s picking up steam on Wall Street.

According to a recent Washington Post article: “The financing of renewable-energy projects has become a mainstream business for Wall Street. The early-stage investments from Silicon Valley for clean energy were small potatoes compared to the massive investments Wall Street is making. It truly is a global business,” said Dan Reicher, a former Energy Department assistant secretary who is now executive director of Stanford University’s Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance.

“The ITC extension will spur an estimated $40 billion in additional investment in the U.S. economy by 2020.” – SEIA.org

Solar Investment Tax Credit
Ground mount solar in the woods

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