Do America and Canada Need a New Renewable Energy Policy?

Low oil and gas commodity prices have hurt Canada and the USA energy markets. This is a warning to become aggressive in pursuing this moment in time to push our solar initiative. This boom-bust cycle of low energy prices has destroyed the solar energy movement several times in history. It is key to be strong and straightforward about this movement and its true significance. Federal budgets are constrained and energy commodity prices are very low.

We must address added value factors in exchange for the extended solar tax credits. The main focus is solar cell efficiency levels and increasing these by up to seven percentage points. The technology exists presently, but factory upgrades cost money and slow production lines in the delivery of solar contracted product. The secondary factor to attack is the removal of federal level tariffs for imported solar panels, solar film, inverters, and ancillary products needed to install and support the integrated system.

Americans solar power federal tax credits expire in 2016. Tax carry-forwards for solar energy are needed for solar systems to compete against other forms of fossil fuel electric power. Where federal or state tax credit exceeds taxes owed, the excess amount is carried forward to next tax year.

The loss of federal solar energy tax credits is a huge challenge to local state politicians in many states. It is imperative that local communities become actively involved in this area to push for extension of existing tax credits for another decade.

Solar power doesn’t pollute and permanently reduces our reliance on fossil fuels to reduce the global carbon footprint. The solar industry is often driven by state, provincial, and federal tax credits for installed solar systems. The solar tax credits also extend to specific items which reduce overall energy use such as windows, insulation, fuel cells, solar pool systems, solar air conditioning, and solar hot water heaters. Energy Star is a label to look for which implies lower energy cost and energy savings.

30% of qualified expenditures for solar system including labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. This includes limb removal, tree trimming, tree removal, and reinforcements to roofs for added strength to support the weight of the solar panels on the roof where needed. Look carefully at this and make sure to note these added expenses on your income tax return.

Another area of interest in the concept of abatement of property taxes for the value assigned to solar systems and solar products. Some municipalities and major cities are moving forward with this endeavor. This can be promoted at the local county or state level with the proper taxing authorities.

This call to action requires support from all sides. Solar firms, solar users, and green groups must contact community solar groups, senators, governors and Washington officials requesting extension of solar tax credits. The NEB is also an important group that can request removal of tariffs to support the economic health of an industry which needs wide spread support.

Expand your understanding of global climate change and how solar energy enhances the planet.