Fill out the fields below to add your company to this letter to Congress in support of policies that will help save jobs and support solar businesses in our efforts to lead economic recovery from COVID-19. For more information and resources, visit our COVID-19 page.
Dear Members of Congress,
As some of the nation’s leading solar energy companies, we write to convey the importance of passing bipartisan legislation to recover lost jobs in the solar industry and use clean energy to rebuild our economy.
The COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating and acute impact on the solar industry. This spring, 72,000 Americans lost their solar job and 80% of projects were either delayed or cancelled. These issues stem from a severe drop off in customer demand, supply chain challenges and shelter-in-place orders that altered sales practices, prevented installation, and put a standstill to some permitting and inspection operations. Shovel-ready projects across the country have been put on hold and our economy is now missing out on billions of dollars of private investment when we need it most.
While there are some signs of an eventual rebound, financing challenges remain and any growth in the solar industry is contingent on economies reopening.
One of the biggest issues is that the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)—a critical tool the solar industry uses to both incent development and finance projects—is reliant on healthy tax equity markets. Since the pandemic, these markets have tightened, making it even more difficult and expensive for companies to secure the capital they need to build solar projects and keep their doors open. Making the tax credit more accessible through a direct pay option would make the industry less reliant on tax equity markets and restore much needed liquidity, helping to keep workers on the payroll and projects moving forward.
We also can’t rewind the clock. In 2020 the credit began its step-down schedule and will continue to step down until it reaches 10% in 2022 for commercial and utility-scale projects and zeroes out for residential solar projects. The step-down schedule didn’t factor in a public health crisis and pushing back the phase down schedule to account for this period of lost time is needed to put solar companies in a position to lead economic recovery.
The ITC has a tremendous track record of spurring clean energy deployment across the country, creating nearly a quarter million well-paying jobs and driving down electricity costs for consumers, businesses and municipalities. It also has generated significant economic activity, accounting for $140 billion in private investment since its inception. The ITC has also enabled the solar industry to innovate, creating new products and businesses along the way.
These changes also represent the opportunity to prioritize access and equity in the opportunities we create.
The solar industry is committed to a fair and just transition to a clean energy economy and supports legislation that addresses longstanding and systemic inequities that exist in all parts of the energy economy. We support legislation that helps us create a more diverse workforce, invests in workforce training, and establishes programs to increase solar energy access for lower income communities.
These changes to existing policies would greatly assist what was one of the fastest-growing industries in America before the pandemic hit. It would also help us rebuild better, making important investments in modern and secure infrastructure that can also help us combat climate change, all while adding jobs and billions to our economy.
We are committed to going to work for our economy and urge you to support these changes so we can help lead American economic recovery.
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