Bakersfield Chamber Supports Solar

Unanimous Approval for Extension of Federal Solar Tax Credit

BAKERSFIELD — Today the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce unanimously approved support for extending the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy.  Their support is timely as Congressional leaders work to pass a bipartisan deal that includes a multi-year extension of the ITC.

“The unanimous support for the solar investment tax credit of the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce reflects the growing importance for solar throughout the state of California,” said Kelly Knutsen, policy advisor for the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “We applaud the Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce’s leadership on this issue and urge California’s congressional delegation to vote for extending the solar tax credit as part of the omnibus appropriations bill being considered this week.” 

The House of Representatives filed an omnibus appropriations bill Wednesday morning that included a five-year extension of the federal solar investment tax credit.  The House of Representatives and Senate are expected to each vote on the omnibus bill later this week.

The 30% federal tax credit is scheduled to expire at the end of 2016, but if Congress votes to approve the deal, it would be extended through 2021.  The extension includes a phase-out and a provision that projects that have commenced construction by the end of 2021 would have two additional years to complete the project.  

In addition to the Bakersfield Chamber’s decision today, in October, the City of Bakersfield became first in the nation to call for congressional support of the solar tax credit, highlighting the growing influence of renewable energy in the biggest oil and gas-producing region in the state.

There are now over 11,000 households and businesses with solar in Bakersfield, making Bakersfield one of the top cities in the state for solar. In fact, according to the California Solar Statistics database, Bakersfield has twice as many solar installations as San Francisco. The city of 363,000 also has comparable amounts of solar installations to the much larger cities of San Diego and San Jose.

Long-term policies like the 30% federal solar investment tax credit and California state policy of net energy metering have been instrumental in creating the rapidly growing California solar industry, which currently employs 54,000 Californians statewide.  These policies have also brought about significant cost reductions within the solar industry—dropping over 50% in past 5 years—enabling the growth of local solar businesses and reducing energy costs for homeowners, businesses and farmers across the state.