Last year, when the tax credit for solar was on the verge of decreasing and an extension was being considered in the House, I was urging folks to call their congresspeople in support due to the environmental benefits of getting more solar on rooftops.
Since then, the climate threat has only grown more severe. The record-breaking heat in South Florida this year is but one indication of the looming catastrophe facing Miami. The road to reaching the Paris Accord goal of keeping warming to 1.5 Degrees Celsius looks increasingly impassable.
Now we face another crisis: high unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once again, Florida is proving itself less economically resilient than most other states. Our economy is too dependent on tourism and foreign investment to weather such extreme shocks to the global market.
Supporting the solar industry in Florida and around the nation is absolutely critical to reducing the threat of climate change and getting people back to work. But as we reach the end of the year, the tax credit is set to decrease again from 26% to 22% in 2021. It will disappear completely for residential solar in 2022.
Meanwhile, the federal government continues to spend up to $649 billion a year to subsidize oil and gas. In 2020, even if 100% of solar installations qualify for the tax credit (which they don’t), only about $6.4 billion would be going back to solar purchasers. Yet unlike the fossil fuel subsidies, the tax credit for solar is available to individual homeowners, directly helping folks like you and me buy healthier food, save for college, or start a business.
We must urge our representatives to extend the tax credit for solar. Such a policy is not an official part of either major party’s platform, despite the fact that 89% of Americans support it. However, an extension through 2025 was included in the GREEN Act, which passed the House in July.
Homeowners considering solar will not benefit from waiting in hope for a tax credit extension. The fact is, solar energy is already the cheapest option in Florida and the best time to go solar is now. Time spent waiting is time spent paying too much for energy and unnecessarily releasing carbon.