Two Policies that Create Jobs, Help the Environment and Save Taxpayers’ Money – Hard to Believe, but True!
As Congress continues to mull over the need for another jobs bill, it is my hope that our elected officials realize that a transition to a clean-tech economy will only work insofar as two crucial policies—the inclusion of solar manufacturing equipment in the Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit (MITC) and the extension of the Treasury Grant Program (TGP)—are properly implemented.
A new report released this week by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) finds that these policies have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, generate nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of additional solar power and save the U.S. government $2.5 billion over the next six years.
The first policy initiative—including solar manufacturing equipment in the MITC—would help put the U.S. at a more competitive position in the clean energy race. Allowing these sorts of solar expenses to qualify within the current Section 48 investment tax credit would greatly improve our country’s chances of catching up to the “Rising Tigers” of China, South Korea and Japan, whose governments already use a variety of robust pro-renewable energy policies—most notably feed-in tariffs—to drive their clean energy strategies.
The report goes on to state that extending the TGP—set to expire at the end of this year—through 2012 will enable new solar projects to secure financing more easily, especially in this era of tight credit. This would help facilitate a virtuous circle whereby projects could get off the ground more rapidly as well as generate the jobs necessary to continue to drive our economic recovery. Incidentally, states that stand to benefit significantly from solar manufacturing employment also happen to be ones hurt deeply by the Great Recession, including Rust Belt states like Michigan and Ohio.