The city of Bakersfield, CA has passed a resolution urging Congress to extend the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy. Apparently, Bakersfield is the first and only city in America to officially pass such a resolution supporting the solar tax credit.
“The federal solar investment tax credit is critical for supporting local jobs and reducing energy bills for Bakersfield homeowners and businesses. I am pleased that the Bakersfield City Council passed by 5 to 1 this resolution urging Congress to extend this credit to keep our local solar economy growing,” said Council member Willie Rivera, a sponsor of the city’s resolution.
Key reasons given in passing such a momentous resolution for supporting solar power by the city are the facts that it contributes billions to the California economy and has employed about 54,000 people there. Bakersfield alone has about 10,000 residences and businesses using solar power.
The 30% tax credit for solar systems on residential properties will end in December of 2016, if Congress does not extend it. For commercial properties it will by reduced from 30% to 10%.
“Without the ITC, research shows the jobs of more than 100,000 Americans – nearly 34,000 in California alone – are at risk. More cities should follow Bakersfield’s lead, sending a message to Congress that the American public deserves energy independence and the well-paying jobs that solar produces,” explained SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch.
Eliminating this important tax credit, or reducing it by 20%, is unfair, because oil and gas do receive subsidies, and solar power is an emerging industry that is doing very well. Removing support for it makes no rational sense – it is an idea that is entirely political.
The solar tax credit should be renewed – it’s a “slam dunk,” “no-brainer” kind of decision. Solar power is growing around the world, and the US is actually far behind global leaders like Germany. The US is also gradually emerging from the worst recession since the Depression, and making federal policy changes that reduce the number of good jobs would damage an economy that is still struggling.