Revving the Solar Engine to Support Local Jobs, Clean Energy

Of all the federal government programs struggling out there, there’s one that’s actually working — the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for renewable energy systems.

The ITC is a federal incentive for homeowners, businesses, farmers and ranchers that is reducing the cost of going solar and helping increase the amount of clean energy installed around the country. It has been one of the most successful incentive programs to date. Now, it’s poised to start shutting down. Go figure.

Solar power has proven to be a job-creating engine and economic driver for communities, and an effective response to the climate crisis. That’s why Congress offered support for homeowners and businesses to do the right thing while actually saving money in the process. And it’s working.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are 250,000 Americans with careers in the solar energy industry, despite it being a relatively new sector of our economy. This is more than double the number of workers just a decade ago. These are good jobs with solid pay and benefits, in positions that can’t be sent offshore because they’re building clean energy projects in our communities across America. And these are jobs for all kinds of people: marketing, sales, design, customer service, warehouse, construction, accounting, IT and HR.

I know because I am a co-owner of OnSite Energy, a solar PV design and installation business with locations in Bozeman and Missoula and 12 full-time employees. There are 250-plus individuals in Montana and growing who owe their jobs to this important energy sector and last thing we need are any barriers to employment development and growth.