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The solar industry and its associated “green” jobs gained a stronger future with the extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) as part of the newest stimulus deal passed in congress. The 26% two-year extension for solar investment along with added funding for research and development, will have a dramatic impact on companies, their ability to maintain employment levels and the direct costs for individuals.
David Amster-Olszewski, CEO of SunShare, the nation’s largest residential community solar developer said, "The extension of the tax credits will allow companies like ours to continue bringing solar to communities at better costs. For many projects, the difference in tax credits determines whether a project is even built or not. For every $100 Million dollars invested in solar, the tax credit provides $26 Million dollars, so the health and extension of these credits cannot be underestimated in powering the transition to 100% renewable energy."
The community solar industry has been a major economic driver in many locations, including rural communities where community solar garden construction and long-term land leases are adding jobs and income stability for many people impacted by the dual issues of COVID as well as oil and gas drilling reductions. Several counties like Adams, Arapahoe and Jefferson, CO are streamlining the approval and permitting protocols to help attract community solar garden development because of the value to the communities.
Community solar is a solar farm, not owned by the utility company that provides electricity through the existing power grid. Instead of putting panels on a roof, households and businesses simply subscribe to a portion of the energy produced in the community solar garden. The utility continues delivering energy to the home or business, and the subscriber receives solar credits on their electricity bill.
Updated regulations such as Colorado’s Community Solar Garden Modernization Act have also allowed energy generation from gardens to be used for subscriptions across the state, shortening waitlist times to gain a subscription from years to days.