Government

THE GOLDEN AGE OF SOLAR

Probably one of the most significant moves that catalyzed the growth in solar demand and investment was the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) created in 2005 during the George W. Bush administration with the passage of the Energy Policy Act. As part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 the credit was extended to 2016 and a previous $2000 residential cap removed allowing people getting a solar energy system installed to recoup 30 percent of the total cost of a solar energy system.

At the end of 2015 the ITC was extended and will stay at 30% through 2019, and then decline gradually for two years before falling to 10%. The legislation also allows for PV projects to claim the credit for the year in which they begin construction.

RESULTS
Not only has it become more affordable for residents but the solar industry has become a healthy source of jobs.

The solar industry has grown from 17,000 employees in 2005 to nearly 174,000 today. They work at more than 8,000 companies, the vast majority being small businesses, in all 50 states.

The Solar Foundation’s (TSF) annual jobs census for 2014 showed a 21.8% growth in employment over 2013, the industry has grown 86% as an employer since TSF started keeping track of statistics in 2010.

The overall growth of the solar industry, made possible by the ITC, had led to sharp reductions in the cost of solar energy. Since the implementation of the ITC in 2006, the average cost of solar has dropped by more than 73%. Now prices are leveling off as the manufacturing market hits stride.

DATABASE OF STATE INCENTIVES FOR RENEWABLES & EFFICIENCY
MARYLAND RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARD
A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a policy that seeks to increase the proportion of renewable electricity used by retail customers. Maryland has adopted an aggressive goal of obtaining electricity from renewable sources.