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Draft federal tax package includes ITC extension and direct pay for solar incentives

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 15th September

The House Ways and Means Committee is currently debating legislation that could cut power sector emissions to between 64% and 73% below 2005 levels by 2031. Under the Build Back Better Act, tax incentives for such clean technologies as wind and solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles would be updated and extended through the end of the decade.

Jesse Jenkins, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton, explained the incentives in a series of tweets.

Next up: Investment Tax Credit for solar, geothermal, and newly qualifying: energy storage, biogas, microgrid controllers and a couple more.

30% full value (6% base) for projects begin construction before end of 2031. Phase out over 2032-2033.

33% if you use domestic content.

— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) September 11, 2021

The draft bill grants the “direct pay” wishes of the solar industry too. In the proposed structure, nonprofits, tribal nations and other groups that don’t qualify for tax credits can instead receive direct pay refunds for solar projects.

Ok this is critical: the ITC be PTC, 45Q for CCS etc are now eligible for “direct pay” or fully refundable, rather than only available as offset against taxes owed. This is a game changer. Means no more wasteful tax equity financing!

— JesseJenkins (@JesseJenkins) September 11, 2021

“We can now power our homes, our businesses and even our cars and trucks with clean, green and renewable energy. Tax incentives are one of the most critical tools to help us shift from dirty, polluting sources of power to clean ones at the necessary speed. These policies are also among the most popular. 69% of voters in competitive House districts support investments in clean energy such as wind and solar power by extending tax credits to spur innovation and manufacturing, which is exactly what this legislation does,” said Lisa Frank, Environment America Washington Legislative Office executive director, in a statement. “We applaud Chairman Richard Neal, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Thompson, and the many champions for clean energy in Congress for proposing the bold investments on clean energy that we need. We urge all members of the House Ways and Means Committee to support this important legislation.”

The House Ways and Means committee has begun markup of the bill, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’s committed to passing it by Sept. 27.