What does the GOP tax reform mean for solar?

US House of Representatives

House Republicans recently introduced their latest 429-page tax reform bill, which proposes several changes related to renewable energy. The plan would increase taxes on wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower in an effort to reap $12.3 billion in government revenue over the next 10 years.

Although the plan would cut the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicle purchases, Republicans opted to extend tax credits for current residential energy efficiency programs to December 31, 2021.

Solar and wind industries have expressed their frustrations with the plan, stating that they have already been reformed in previous years and urge lawmakers to look for funding elsewhere in their budgets.

Despite the majority of republicans backing the new plan, Representative Tom Reed (R-NY) argues in favor of wind and solar credits. He recently authored a bill to reinstate the ITC for a batch of energy technologies left out of a deal in December 2015, which provided federal tax incentives for solar and wind corporations. He stated, “We’ve made the case.  I think it’s gaining some traction, but nothing is done until it’s done.”

It is hard to know if lawmakers will honor the old promises they made in previous years, or if they will continue to bolster the oil and gas industries. Our hope is that leaders in the house and senate remain on the side of green energy, as many states have introduced legislation aiming to increase their dependence on renewable energy.

This year California hoped to introduce a bill aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2045, but lawmakers were met with resistance from the oil and gas industries. While this battle still has long to go, we are seeing small steps in the right direction.