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Bipartisan bill aims to help solar producers take advantage of tax credit

Bipartisan bill aims to help solar producers take advantage of tax credit
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A new bipartisan bill aims to help the solar energy industry take advantage of a tax credit.

The House legislation introduced Thursday by Reps. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) and Dave Schweikert (R-Ariz.) would temporarily make the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) refundable, meaning that the amount of money that solar producers receive from the tax credit may exceed the amount that they owe in taxes. 

It would also slow the credit’s phasedown, under which the maximum amount solar producers could receive under the tax credit gradually reduces, by one year. 

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The legislation was praised by a solar industry trade group as a way to help an industry that has been hit hard by the pandemic. 

“This bipartisan legislation would help address key issues facing the solar industry as a result of the COVID crisis, and support hardworking men and women deploying clean solar energy across the country,” said Jeremy Woodrum, director of Congressional Affairs, Solar Energy Industries Association, in a statement. “Enacting these pro-solar measures would go a long way toward jumpstarting clean energy projects and easing some of the economic impacts of COVID-19.”

The legislation doesn’t currently have a Senate companion bill, but some Senate Republicans have indicated support for giving companies more time to take advantage of the ITC credit. 

A new report released Wednesday has found that through October about 12 percent of the renewable electric power generation workforce remained unemployed because of the pandemic. 

Supporting clean energy may be one of the few areas for potential cooperation in what could be a divided government next year if Republicans retain control of the Senate.