Last year, 2015, was a record year for solar energy. In fact, a new solar system was activated every 1.6 minutes in quarter three of 2015, up from every 2.5 minutes in 2014. Throughout the first three quarters of this year, 30 percent of all new electric generating capacity brought on-line in the U.S. came from solar, according to a report dated December 9th from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
America’s solar boom is far from busting. In fact, solar will quadruple in size from just over 24 GW of total capacity to nearly 100 GW by 2020. By that point, there will be enough solar installed to power 20 million American homes.
New Solar Era
Sustained growth for one of America’s newest and most cutting-edge industries was solidified last week when Congress passed a bipartisan spending bill. This seemingly routine legislation is historic because it brings the solar industry to the forefront of the conversation about American energy.
Instead of the ITC dropping down to 10 percent for commercial users and zero for residential users at the end of 2016, Congress took action that will help solar drive America toward its clean energy future.
The bill included modifications to the tax code that extended both the residential and commercial sections of the solar investment tax credit (ITC). Specifically, there is a long-term extension for both residential and commercial solar users with a gradual phase down over the next five years, as well as a permanent 10 percent tax credit for commercial users.
ITC Extension and Phase Down Schedule
- 2017—30 percent
- 2018—30 percent
- 2019—30 percent
- 2020—26 percent
- 2021—22 percent
- 2022 and beyond—permanent 10 percent for commercial credit
For the first time, the legislation also allows for users to claim the credit as soon as construction of their projects begin, as long as the projects are placed in service by Dec. 31, 2023.
Source and additional information can be located at http://www.seia.org/