Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch released the following statement on the U.S. House of Representatives passage of a one-year extension of the Department of Treasury Section 1603 program in their tax bill compromise:
“After a year’s worth of effort, we are now close to getting the 1603 Treasury Grant Program extended. I’d particularly like to thank Representatives Holt, Blumenauer and Thompson for providing leadership and vision in support of the renewable energy industry and the 1603 program. This program has successfully created thousands of jobs and opportunity in all 50 states for construction workers, electricians, plumbers, contractors that have struggled in this harsh economic climate. An extension will help the solar industry remain one of the fastest growing industries in America and create thousands of new careers. We now urge President Obama to swiftly sign this bill into law and keep solar working for America in 2011 and beyond.”
The program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Section 1603) to provide commercial solar installations with a cash grant in lieu of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit (ITC). President George W. Bush signed the 8-year ITC into law in 2008, but the economic conditions created by the global recession made it clear that few would be able to utilize the tax credit.
So far, the TGP has helped move forward more than 1,100 solar projects in 42 states and supported $18 billion in investment. The program has been critical in allowing the solar industry to grow by over 100 percent in 2010, create enough new solar capacity to power 200,000 homes and provide work to more than 93,000 Americans.