“Solar power still has plenty of room to grow. Installed global capacity at the end of 2014 was almost 180 gigawatts (GW), but the 185.9 terawatt hours consumed in 2014 still amounted to only 0.79% of global electricity consumption, up from a 0.034% share in 2007,” Rapier noted.
Until recently, the U.S. outlook for solar growth had been clouded by the sunset of the solar investment tax credit (ITC), a 30% federal tax credit for the capital cost of solar systems on residential and commercial properties.
But as we wrote in the February, Congress decided to extend the full subsidy through 2018. Thereafter, the credit falls incrementally to 10% in 2022, and then remains at that level for commercial installations, but is eliminated for residential ones. This has huge implications for the continued growth of the solar power industry.
The Solar Energy Industries Association projects that that extension of the ITC will lead to more than $125 billion in new private investment in solar projects. IHS called the extension “one of the most significant stimulus policies for the renewable sector in the past 10 years.”
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