GREEN Act Advances in Congress

The bill includes support for renewable energy industries as part of the next pandemic relief package.

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The Growing Renewable Energy and Efficiency Now, or GREEN Act, passed the House of Representatives vote in early July. The bill, which is part of the $1.5 trillion U.S. House Ways and Means Committee infrastructure package released earlier in June, now awaits the Senate’s decision.  

Initially, the legislation was unveiled last November. Its aim was to extend tax credits for renewable technologies, which were set to expire in 2019. The bill was introduced to the House of Representatives in June this year and, in addition to the $300 billion meant for infrastructure upgrades and expansion, it includes programs to reduce carbon pollution through solar and storage provisions.

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Notably, the bill includes a five-year extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) at 30 percent through 2025, followed by a two-year phase-down (2026 at 26 percent and 2027 at 22 percent) and then drop to 10 percent for commercial and utility-scale solar projects in 2028. This provision could prove vital to the wind and solar industries as, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the solar industry lost 72,000 jobs as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, direct pay proposal at 85 percent for qualifying projects for the duration of the ITC would enable solar companies to take the ITC as cash payment so that they can hire back or keep employees on their payroll.

The legislation also includes storage ITC, proposals to incentivize investment in clean energy for low-income and underserved communities, tax credits for clean energy manufacturing, grid modernization provisions and funds for transmission planning with the requirement to account for renewable energy generation. Grant program for solar installation in low-income and underserved communities and funds for renewable energy installation in community institutions, such as schools, are part of the drafted bill, as well as improvement to public lands renewable energy development programs.

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