Solar industry presses forword on BBB

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Monday, January 10, 2022

The solar industry’s top trade group is calling on its members to redouble efforts to pass Democrats’ stalled social spending and climate legislation ahead of March 1, when the president is slated to deliver his State of the Union address.

“Now’s the time. Build Back Better is in the final stretches. An announcement was just made that the president was going to give his State of the Union address on March 1 and that’s our new target date,” said Dan Whitten, vice president of public affairs at Solar Energy Industries Association, during a webinar Friday. SEIA held the webinar with members ahead of three days of lobbying on the bill this week.

The Build Back Better legislation, as currently written, would extend key renewable energy tax credits, as well as provide new incentives for energy storage and make certain facilities eligible for direct pay. Erin Duncan, vice president of congressional affairs at SEIA, said it’s possible the bill would undergo changes before it makes it to the Senate floor as Democratic leaders and the president work to bring Sen. Joe Manchin on board . But Duncan said she was “fairly confident” the bill’s energy and climate provisions were unlikely to change dramatically.

“The solar provisions in Build Back Better are among the least controversial and so that’s why solar plays such a central role in trying to get this over the finish line,” Whitten added.

The group did not speak to the likelihood of passing just the popular climate provisions on their own, but Duncan made clear that the trade group does not view Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as a challenge when it comes to solar provisions — a sentiment echoed by other climate hawks on the Hill.