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Extension of the 1603 Treasury Program Will Result in Continued Solar Success

solar energy is boomingThe stakes are high! Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), held a press teleconference earlier today making it clear that the 1603 Treasury Program has played a significant role in the solar industry’s phenomenal success. This program has awarded 2,657 grants totaling $1.18 billion for more than 6,300 individual solar projects in 45 states and has supported over $3.9 billion in private investment (as of 6/29/11 figures). The manufacturing and construction associated with these solar energy projects has supported roughly 45,000 U.S. jobs (direct, indirect and induced) in the solar industry. Extending the 1603 Treasury Program will play a crucial part in what’s to come.

The choices are clear… According to a study by EuPDA, a one-year extension of the program will lead to the creation of as many as 37,000 new American jobs and additional cumulative capacity of 500 megawatts — enough clean energy to power 100,000 homes. If there is no extension and the program is left to expire on Dec 31, 2011, many existing  jobs will be destroyed and the solar industry will contract.

The 1603 Treasury Program was created in 2009 in the wake of the financial crisis. In the two years since its execution, the solar industry has blossomed to become one of the fastest-growing industries in the US economy. As Rhone pointed out, this is the growth of an industry — not a business. Pretty remarkable! In the two years that the program has been in effect, the industry has grown 70 percent even with the economy in its fragile state and the availability of tax equity dropping significantly. The contrast of success and failure couldn’t be more apparent.

More than 100,000 American workers are currently employed in the solar sector and the Treasury Program was the source for this industry to double in size. Other significant achievements due in part to the tax credit:

  • Since the beginning of 2010, the price of solar panels has dropped by 30%, making solar more affordable fand accessible to homeowners and business customers.
  • The US has become a net exporter of solar products and has a trade surpluss with China.

In summary, said Resch, “the 1603 Treasury Program has been the single most effective policy driving renewable energy growth during the past two years.”

The team at EcoOutfitters agrees. The Treasury Grant program is a key factor in the future of the American economy as well as in our security and environment. The program has a proven track record of success in a field that matters most to the American people: job creation. We cannot sit still … we must do everything in our power to ensure that Congress grants an extension!

 

 

* The Section 1603 Treasury Program allows energy developers to receive a federal grant in lieu of claiming an existing energy tax credit. The program does not create any new incentives, but instead simply accelerates the timing of the existing credit.  This solution was designed to provide the liquidity needed for the further development of domestic energy projects during difficult financial times.

 


 

Post Written by
For Raina Brett Russo, taking care of the environment is a necessity, not an option. Having grown up in Israel, a place where conservation is required and solar hot water heating is the norm, Raina knows the importance of solar energy. Through her work with the EcoOutfitters.net team, Raina found a way to help grow the solar industry in a significant way. As the founder and host of #SolarChat, a bi-monthly "gathering" on Twitter, Raina and her team have created an engaged solar think-tank community that comes together regularly for collaboration and networking with the ultimate goal in mind of spreading the solar message.

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