Group salutes ‘lifetime solar pugilist’ Reid

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, October 7, 2016

The Solar Energy Industries Association awarded five members of Congress with solar awards, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

The Nevada Democrat, who’s retiring from Congress at the end of this session, was awarded the association’s first “lifetime solar pugilist award,” partly for spearheading the solar investment tax credit in 2005 and pushing to extend it in 2008 and 2015.

Reid also has been outspoken about his state’s recent plans to cut back on net metering. In August, he told the Federal Trade Commission that the situation in Nevada was the result of a national campaign by utilities to dampen competition for rooftop solar (Greenwire, Aug. 23).

“Sen. Reid has been the strongest advocate for the solar industry ever to serve in Congress,” SEIA said in a statement.

The group also selected two Republicans and two Democrats for separate awards, largely for pushing to extend the solar investment tax credit, or ITC.

Last year Congress extended the credit as part of a larger budget deal. The awardees are Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.) and Mike Thompson (D-Calif.).

Heller, for example, pushed for the ITC to remain in legislation via his position on the Senate Finance Committee, SEIA noted. Thompson was an architect of the eight-year extension of the ITC in 2008.

Other lawmakers have won the solar champions award before, including Reid in 2010 and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) in 2008, according to a SEIA spokesperson.