Why clean energy incentives belong in the fiscal stimulus package

solar panels

We’re calling on Congress to enact programs like the 1603 cash grant program as part of the COVID-19 fiscal stimulus package.

The last few weeks have shaken our families, our local communities, the financial markets, and the country’s confidence. In response, leaders in Washington are drafting a stimulus package to help stabilize the economy and chart a course forward for this country. While the health and well being of Americans continues to be our highest priority, we must be ambitious in our thinking to shape the economy of tomorrow.  We have an opportunity to unify the country and keep one of the fastest growing workforces building the clean energy economy. 

The U.S. solar and battery storage industries employ over 250,000 Americans and provide $19 billion annually in infrastructure investments. Until the crisis, these figures were expected to grow substantially. These industries have created good paying blue collar jobs across this country, increasing over 160% over the last decade. 

What’s more, over 20% of the industry is comprised of Veterans who have come home after a decade of war to continue their service at home. The COVID-19 crisis is threatening these jobs and investments at a time when we need them most.

The ITC and beyond

Industry groups in Washington are pushing a series of clean energy solutions to include in Washington’s new stimulus legislation. These include important actions like extending the solar investment tax credit. These policies have historically  been effective in establishing the financial viability of the sector, but as we face a global recession, many companies will not have the taxable profits to utilize the tax credits. As a result, one of the key sources of capital to fund solar projects is likely to go away.

One policy that would immediately support the solar workforce is reenacting a program like the 1603 cash grant in addition to the widely supported investment tax credit.

The 1603 cash grant program was highly successful following the Great Recession and disbursed over $26 billion to help fund 109,766 clean energy projects across all 50 states. These projects produce enough clean energy to power over 8.5 million homes and generate billions of dollars in economic output over their 20-30 year lifetime.

In addition, it unlocked significant private investment, supported small business, protected jobs, and launched the clean energy revolution. That is exactly what is needed again amidst today’s crisis. It  a win-win for Washington, Wall Street, and Main Street.

An urgent call to action

CleanCapital is urging Congress to extend the ITC and include a program like the 1603 cash grant program in the fiscal rescue bill, and we’re calling on the entire solar industry to contact their representatives to do the same. It’s simple: you can find contact information for your Congressional representatives here.

Please contact them today, as the legislation is moving fast. Let them know it is time to enact a robust stimulus to support the economy, keep the solar industry thriving, and ensure its 250,000 workers remain employed.

Thomas Byrne, Jon Powers, & Marc Garrett