When will Americans pay for solar panels?
Republicans are calling on Americans to pay for more solar panels by increasing the rate of return they pay for electricity.
That would make the solar panel industry profitable for decades to come.
But it’s a huge change for an industry that has relied on subsidies and government loans to keep up.
As part of the GOP’s plan to help Americans install solar panels, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Wednesday that it will include the idea of a tax on panels.
The bill would add a new tax on solar panels that would apply to anyone who buys solar panels through a retail store or from a manufacturer.
“Americans will not only pay more for solar, but we’ll be making the solar industry a more competitive, reliable, and affordable option,” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., said in a statement.
The House Energy Committee plan to boost the cost of solar panels was first floated by Rep. Brad Sherman, D of California, last week.
Democrats and some Republicans have criticized the plan, saying it would be a big tax hike for Americans who rely on the federal government to help subsidize solar installations.
The bill will now go to the Senate, where Republicans have yet to make a final decision on its inclusion.
A number of solar industry experts said they believed the bill would not be enough to spur the industry to keep building new panels.
“The current tax is too high,” said Mark P. Hovland, a former deputy director of the Energy Department’s Solar Energy Industries Association.
“If the goal is to incentivize more solar installations, then the incentives are not there.
It would be good if they raised the rate on the credits and it’s not the only incentive they give.”
But the solar panels industry is not alone in its opposition to the bill.
On Thursday, the National Association of Manufacturers issued a report saying it supports the bill because it would help the U.S. solar industry, which is the second-largest solar industry in the world after China, with $2.3 trillion in installed capacity.
Some Republican lawmakers have also questioned the need for a tax.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said on the Senate floor Thursday that it would not fix the problem of a government-sponsored tax on the solar system.
But Rep. Greg Walden, R, Ore., the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet, said Thursday that the bill is necessary to incentivise the American solar industry.
In a statement Thursday, Trump said that while the bill was introduced with a number of amendments, he has “no doubts that it is a good proposal and will work.”
“We have a lot of other things we can do,” Trump said.