Solar’s Big Hurdle

The 30% credit has helped solar installations increase by 1,600% annually since it took effect in 2006. Industry employment has grown from 15,000 to about 143,000 at more than 6,100 companies. At the same time, the cost of solar power has fallen from an average of $7.50 per watt in 2009 to $2.89 per watt in 2013.

Anyone investing in the solar sector or interested in its prospects ought to check out Jim McTague’s sobering D.C. Current column in this week’s Barron’s. In it, he talks about the fact that, come 2017, the solar industry’s tax credit for new installations drops from 30% to 10%. And while the solar lobby is hard at work trying for a better extension, McTague doesn’t think they’ll get their answer this year. Congress, he notes, is already inundated with items it needs to clear that pertain to today and tomorrow – a tax credit change occurring in 2017 is the last thing on its mind (or agenda) right now.

The unfortunate part is that, in the absence of certainty about how much projects will cost that finish after 2017 (most are three years or more in duration), lots of potential build-outs aren’t going to go forward. By dragging its feet on the issue, Congress is squandering a lot of opportunity.

Read it here:

Solar’s Power is Limited in Congress (Barron’s)

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