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Building Back Better with a Clean Energy Economy

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Solar jobs are American jobs

Investing in our nation’s clean energy future is our best shot at creating lasting economic prosperity for future generations and meaningfully addressing the climate crisis. Right now, Congress has an unprecedented opportunity to advance policies that will create long-lasting growth for solar energy, its millions of customers and the hundreds of thousands of American families supported by good solar jobs. 

Solar energy is far more competitive than ever before, with the cost of installing solar having fallen more than 70% in the last decade. But on our current trajectory, the industry will fall short of targets to meaningfully slash greenhouse gas emissions and hit 100% clean energy by 2035. We are leaving hundreds of billions of dollars in private investment and hundreds of thousands of good jobs on the table if we don’t promote policies that advance solar energy.

Accelerating an Equitable Clean Energy Transition

Equity and justice are core values of the solar industry. Policies to invest in American infrastructure and address climate change must take into account the disproportionate impacts felt by frontline communities.

The transition to a clean energy economy must be centered around justice and equity for all Americans, regardless of zip code or income status. We can only achieve this just and equitable transition through federal policies that prioritize environmental justice and create regenerative, sustainable wealth in local communities nationwide.

Federal Policies that can Enable Solar Energy to Spur Economic Growth and Address Climate Change

 

#1: Use the Tax Code to Encourage Long-term Growth for Solar Deployment & Domestic Manufacturing

The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a policy mechanism with bipartisan support that has helped create hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs and fuel billions of dollars in investment. For solar companies to lead the economy forward, modifications to the ITC are required:

  • Establish a 100% direct pay program, to ensure steady financing for businesses and homeowners 
  • Pass long-term tax policy, such as a long-term extension of the solar Investment Tax Credit restoring its full value (30%) to support clean energy growth and provide stability for U.S. businesses and families
  • Enact holistic policies including tax credits to support investments in domestic clean energy manufacturing 
  • Enact a standalone investment tax credit for energy storage at 30 percent to accelerate storage deployment
#2: Modernize and Invest in the U.S. Electricity Grid

Investments in upgrades to our nation’s electricity infrastructure are a critical component of the long-term growth of clean energy. Policy proposals include: 

  • Authorize FERC to permit transmission planning to support power markets’ move toward renewables
  • Require and incentivize local and subregional transmission planning for wholesale energy markets to ensure near-term investment in upgrades within existing transmission corridors
  • Make federal investments in transmission projects that transport clean renewable energy to load centers and upgrade existing interregional transmission lines, including by enacting tax credits for regionally significant transmission lines
  • Authorize or require the federal Power Marketing Authorities to develop, finance and build new transmission that would access/deliver renewable energy in their territories, or to act as “anchor tenants” to secure financing for proposed transmission lines
  • Enable FERC to reduce interconnection queue timelines, and revise existing regulations on participant funding, such that RTOs and public utilities may not exclusively allocate the costs of network upgrades and grid enhancing technologies to interconnection customers
  • Support distribution grid planning to support greater adoption of renewable energy
#3: Train the Next Generation of Diverse Solar Workers

It is imperative that the solar workforce reflects the diversity of our nation and that solar job opportunities are available in all communities. Policy proposals include: 

  • Expand training programs through the Department of Energy, including initiatives that recruit women, people of color, and energy workers in transition to careers in the clean energy sector 
  • Create federal grant programs to support a variety of on-the-job training or pre-apprenticeship programs for careers in renewables, energy efficiency, grid modernization or the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Continue support for programs, such as Solar Ready Vets, that assist military veterans and transitioning service members find careers in the solar industry 
#4: Bring Clean, Affordable Power to Buildings and Communities Across the Country

Investing in our public institutions through energy upgrades is a win-win approach that can create jobs and local economic investment, while reducing electricity bills for municipalities, allowing them to devote more resources to their communities. Policy proposals include: 

  • Enact grant programs to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy retrofits for K-12 schools, including competitive grants for school retrofit projects 
  • Create federal funding to build, repair and renovate federal buildings to increase energy efficiency, including installation of solar energy
  • Fund programs like SolarAPP+ to cut red tape and reduce costs for rooftop solar installations
  • Authorize federal agencies to enter into long-term contracts for purchasing energy from renewables and cogeneration facilities 
  • Prioritize the use of solar to power electric vehicle charging equipment
  • Ensure federal investments in energy efficient affordable housing, public housing and public facilities and federal support for net zero new homes and buildings includes solar energy as a compliance mechanism in the definition of energy efficiency to ensure distributed solar is included as an eligible technology
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Solar jobs are American jobs

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