One of the top priorities for Exact Solar is to monitor and participate in national and local policy making as it impacts energy, transportation, and sustainable living. In addition to our participation in advocacy groups and organizations, over the years we have closely watched the law making and regulatory processes at every level. Here, we highlight a few bills and orders that are important and influential for the present and in the future. Growth of clean energy, including energy storage and efficient energy usage, is made more robust through effective policy.
Federal Clean Energy Policy
At the federal level, three policy areas generally provide the most stimulus for clean energy development and commercial success.
Early investment and focus on technology development through R&D programs and national laboratories have been crucial to creating breakthrough discoveries and advancing existing technology.
Grants and loan programs were key to overcoming high costs in the early stages, allowing competition and progress to bring costs down. For example, solar energy equipment costs and the equivalent levelized cost of energy (LCOE) are less than half of what they were a little over a decade ago.
Tax policy has continued to be a highly effective incentive for investments in clean energy. Solar energy capacity nationwide has exploded to over 70 GW, significantly driven by federal tax credits on investments.
We will occasionally update the section below as proposals become policy and as laws and regulations are finalized.
Tax Policy Watch
Two federal tax credits have been in place for years. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) was initiated as far back as 1992 and has been primarily focused on promoting wind energy installations.
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has a long history in promoting solar energy installations in the U.S. Originally aimed at stimulating general economic growth in 1962, it was amended in 2005 with an increase from a 10% to a 30% credit and specifically applied to and permitting solar energy projects.
After the first decade, the ITC received a complete review by Congress in 2015. As a result, a new incentive schedule was implemented, and provisions were made to include energy storage when coupled with a solar energy system. Beginning January 1, 2020, there will be a planned and steady reduction from 30% (2019) to 0% (2022) for homeowners, while businesses will continue to have access to a 10% tax credit from that point forward. See more about the ITC credit extension here.
In November, 2019, the U.S. House has begun drafting legislation to further address federal tax incentives for investing in renewable energy, as well as other ways to accelerate the combating of climate change. Specific to energy, the current draft targets tax credits to greatly increase solar energy and wind energy investments as a means to move the country more quickly to a 100% renewable energy future. Improving energy storage tax credits is an important component to facilitate high integration of clean, distributed energy into the grid. And an expansion of tax credits for electric vehicle purchases is also vital to accelerate decarbonizing that sector.
You can read more about the renewable energy tax proposal here. We encourage you to express your views and offer feedback by contacting your U.S. lawmaker at the links at the bottom of this page.
Pennsylvania Clean Energy Policy
Visit our Pennsylvania Energy Policy Watch page for more information.
New Jersey Clean Energy Policy
Visit our New Jersey Energy Policy Watch page for more information.
Find and contact your U.S. Representative here.
Find and contact your U.S. Senators here.