Mayors Call For Solar Tax Credit Extension

This Aug. 6, 2019, file photo shows Dominion Energy's Scott Solar farm in Powhatan, Va.

This Aug. 6, 2019, file photo shows Dominion Energy's Scott Solar farm in Powhatan, Va. AP Photo/Steve Helber


Connecting state and local government leaders

Citing job growth and investment in the green economy, 231 mayors are calling on Congress to extend renewable energy tax credits through 2027.

More than 200 mayors are urging Congress to extend solar tax credits for five more years, saying the federal tax breaks have helped create jobs and spurred investment in local economies.

The solar investment tax credit currently allows businesses and homeowners to deduct 30% of the cost of installing solar panels from their federal taxes. But starting next year, the break will begin to decline.

By 2022, homeowners will no longer be eligible to receive tax credits for solar energy systems and businesses will only be able to deduct 10% from their federal taxes.  

Mayors from 40 states sent a letter to Congress this week asking lawmakers to pass legislation that would extend the 30% solar tax credits for five more years.

“Since 2006, the [investment tax credit] has created more than 200,000 jobs and $140 billion in private investment in the United States,” the mayors wrote. “For the growth of our local economies, we need this momentum to continue.”

The deductions have been credited with helping jumpstart the solar industry.

The Renewable Energy Extension Act, introduced in the House and Senate, would provide a five-year extension of the current solar tax credits.

“This tax credit is a key part of increasing the use of clean energy technologies and it helps our environment,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson, a California Democrat, when he introduced the legislation earlier this year. “And we know it works, the ITC produced billions in investment last year alone.”

In the House, the legislation has 50 cosponsors, including eight Republicans. Seventeen Democrats have sponsored the legislation in the Senate.  

If extended, the tax credits could create an additional 113,000 jobs and stimulate $87 billion in economic investment by 2030, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The 231 mayors who signed the letter represent communities across the United States, from Eugene, Oregon to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to Miramar, Florida.

Cities have increasingly turned to solar power as a source of their own municipal power supply. Houston, Texas is the largest municipal buyer of green energy in the country, with 92% of its power coming from wind and solar energy.

In a statement, Mayor Sylvester Turner said continued green energy expansion is important to the city’s sustainability efforts.

“Continuing to support the growth of renewable energy will help the U.S. lead the energy transition, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and build smarter, more resilient communities,” he said.

St. Petersburg is one of several Florida cities that has adopted a 100% renewable energy goal. The city’s mayor, Rick Kriseman, said the solar tax credits are one of many ways the city hopes to encourage more investment in renewable energy.

“The city and its constituents have made significant investments locally in solar on residential and commercial properties as well as hours of volunteer time to educate the community,” Kriseman said in a statement. “Keeping this momentum is important to meeting our city's goals.”

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

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