U.S. Clean-Energy Tax Breaks Sought in Virus Stimulus Package

Source: By Ari Natter, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, March 19, 2020

A maintenance vehicle sits amongst solar panels above Selmer, Tennessee, U.S. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
  • Billions in credits for electric cars, renewables sought

The clean-energy industry is trying to get billions of dollars in tax breaks for electric vehicles, wind and solar power, and battery storage into the massive coronavirus stimulus package being formulated in Congress.

 Renewable energy advocates are angling for an extension of the consumer tax credit for electric vehicles and other incentives for storage and renewable energy — most of which were left out of a year end tax deal.

“Like most other industries, the renewable sector is not immune to pandemic related impacts, in particular the supply chain disruptions and shrinking tax equity market are putting projects in jeopardy,” said Bill Parsons, chief operating officer for the American Council on Renewable Energy, a Washington-based trade group.

In addition to extension of consumer tax credit for electric vehicles, measures being sought include extension of tax credits for wind, investment tax credit for solar and other clean technologies, and a tax incentive for energy storage.

The effort comes as both House and Senate leadership seeks input on what to include in the next relief package as President Donald Trump pushes Congress for a third round of fiscal stimulus that could total as much as $1.2 trillion. Inclusion of clean energy tax credits could depend on the scope of the legislation — which is still being discussed — and whether it includes specific support for other industries that have asked for relief such as airlines, airports and casinos.

“Our members pushed for these credits in the end-of-year funding package and will continue to fight for them in this round of economic stimulus,” the lawmakers said in a statement.

The renewable energy industry is arguing that it is also feeling the economic pain of forced business closings,layoffs and the slowdown in the supply chain.

“Early results from a survey of our companies confirm some of our worst fears,” said Abigail Ross Hopper the president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Customer demand for solar has plummeted and companies are seeing significant construction slowdowns, project cancellations, labor shortages, and a host of logistical problems tied to equipment and delivery delays.”