Shining a Light on Solar

by Autumn Long, Solar United Neighbors

As a new year approaches, it is important to know that 2021 may be the last year for homeowners to take advantage of the federal Energy Investment Tax Credit (EITC) for solar installations. The tax credit is stepping down — from 30% in 2019, to 26% in 2020, to 22% in 2021. Unless Congress takes action to extend the EITC, it will expire altogether for residential solar installations in 2022. (The tax credit for commercial solar projects will stay at a permanent 10%.)

This looming deadline makes it all the more important for West Virginia lawmakers to act during the upcoming legislative session to legalize on-site solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)! Financing solar through a PPA is one of the only ways for tax-exempt institutions like schools, governments, churches, and nonprofits to take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. Its planned step-down means that these institutions will be getting a worse deal the longer they wait to go solar. And since PPAs are currently not allowed in West Virginia, 2021 is a critical year for our lawmakers to do the right thing and make this common and powerful energy financing tool available to our state’s struggling communities and civic institutions.

Legalizing on-site PPAs will allow West Virginia homeowners, businesses, and tax-exempt institutions to access affordable renewable energy with zero upfront cost, lower their electric bills from day one, avoid utility rate hikes, and stabilize their monthly budgets. Legalizing on-site PPAs will create good local jobs, encourage homegrown entrepreneurship, and attract employers to locate and invest in West Virginia – all without raising utility rates or hiking taxes. Visit energyfreedomwv.org to urge your lawmakers to take this one simple step to bring more affordable, local solar energy to our state!

Another way to take advantage of the federal solar tax credit is to go solar at your own home or business in 2021! Solar United Neighbors can help. Visit solarunitedneighbors.org to learn more about solar and get help connecting with local solar installers, reviewing solar proposals, and understanding the entire process of going solar. 

Residents and businesses throughout Southeast WV including Fayette, Greenbrier, Summers, Raleigh, Nicholas, and southern Pocahontas counties, can go solar with the Southeast WV Solar Co-op! SUN is hosting an online solar co-op information session on Wednesday, December 16, at 6pm. RSVP here to learn about solar and the co-op process! You can also learn more and sign up for the co-op at: solarunitedneighbors.org/southeastwv

The League of Women Voters of West Virginia, WV Rivers Coalition, the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, Waterstone Outdoors, Greenbrier River Watershed Association, Secret Sandwich Society, New Roots Community Farm, Bethlehem Farm, Keeper of the Mountains Foundation, Lewisburg Green Team, and the Town of Fayetteville, WV are local solar co-op partners. Thanks to these awesome partner organizations for helping grow solar in Southeast WV! 

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