Sunny Outlook for Solar Tax Credits

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Photo by Istock/Jim Pruitt
By extending the Solar Investment Tax Credit, the U.S. government will create jobs while also supporting the use of solar power instead of fossil fuels.

About a year ago, legislation extending the popular Solar Investment Tax Credit was passed, which set the stage for solar to continue soaring. This tax credit allows a homeowner or commercial builder to deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar system from their federal taxes.

A fact sheet published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), based on data compiled by GTM Research, says solar jobs in particular will see a huge boost thanks to the extension, with approximately 220,000 jobs added in the next five years. What else can the industry expect to see in the coming years? The SEIA analysis projects that by 2020 in the United States, we will:

• Install 72 additional gigawatts (GW) of photovoltaic capacity, reaching about 100 GW — enough to power 20 million U.S. homes.
• Provide 3.5 percent of our electricity with solar power, up from just 0.1 percent in 2010, an increase of more than 3,000 percent in one decade.
• See an estimated $132 billion in additional investment in the economy.

Should these projections be accurate, by the year 2021, the United States will produce enough solar power to offset more than 100 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. To put that in perspective, that would be the equivalent of offsetting the yearly emissions from 27 typical coal power plants or 20 million passenger vehicles — enough vehicles for each resident of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia.

If you’re interested in installing solar on your home and want to take advantage of the extended tax credit, EnergySage, an online solar marketplace, offers a guide to walk you through the process. Find it here.

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