Solar Policy in the U.S.

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From the President of SEMI North America

Solar Policy in the U.S.

The U.S. government is actively implementing the provisions of the economic stimulus bill with two recent announcements favorable to the solar/PV industry. SEMI member companies are encouraged to review the details of these two new programs and determine if they are eligible:

  • The new advanced energy Manufacturing Tax Credit(MTC) which is a new 30% investment tax credit which promotes the manufacturing of clean energy equipment in the U.S.
  • The grant in lieu of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) or Section 1603provides an alternative for businesses that could otherwise claim the production tax credit or the investment tax credit for certain qualifying renewable energy projects.

This fall, as Congress debates climate change/energy bills, important issues related to solar energy will be discussed. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June and contains a number of important solar provisions important to our members, including a national Renewable Portfolio Standard designed to encourage solar and other forms of renewable energy, and a “Green Bank” that would provide rebates, loan guarantees, and other financial mechanisms to finance solar energy technology and demand.

Meanwhile, many States are contemplating Feed-In-Tariffs (FITs), or performance based incentives, to accelerate the deployment of PV power. FITs have proven to be the most effective vehicle for encouraging solar market development, and we believe that policy makers at the state and municipal level need to consider the FIT-based policy options that have proven successful in many regulatory environments around the world.

To support U.S. solar market development and increase solar visibility even more in Washington, D.C., SEMI is launching PV Lobby Day on October 1. I encourage PV Group members to get involved. If you are interested in participating, please contact Maggie Hershey (SEMI Washington D.C. office) at by September 8.

Jonathan Davis

September 1, 2009