Democrats aim to increase solar tiles in US budget bill


A solar panel from solar power company SunPower is seen on the roof of its offices in Richmond, California, United States, July 15, 2021. REUTERS / Peter DaSilva

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – Two Democrats hope to extend a U.S. federal renewable energy tax credit to make it easier for consumers to install roofs with solar shingles like those made by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and GAF ​​Energy, betting it will stimulate an emerging segment of the industry.

The bill, introduced by New Jersey Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill and Georgian Senator Jon Ossoff, would expand the solar tax credit for residential consumers and small businesses to include entire roof systems that incorporate technology from solar energy.

The current 26% tax credit only covers solar tiles, but not other parts of the roof, which the industry sees as a barrier to attracting new customers.

Lawmakers see a good chance the measure will be incorporated into the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill, which is expected to implement some of President Joe Biden’s key climate change measures affecting electricity and transportation.

“It’s these types of tax code fixes that can really spur innovation,” said Sherrill, whose district includes GAF headquarters. “I want GAF and others to produce these solar tiles across the country and around the world.”

She said she met GAF on the subject in May.

Companies such as Tesla and GAF ​​sell solar tiles, but have been slow to attract customers.

The solar investment tax credit is expected to be phased out for residential systems in 2024. Biden has requested a 10-year credit extension.

GAF, a unit of the private conglomerate Standard Industries, is among the most advanced in the development of technology. The company has installed its product on more than 2,000 US rooftops, she told Reuters in May.

Tesla has been installing its solar roof product for about three years, but has not disclosed how many it has installed. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

“This is forward-looking legislation, anticipating advancements in technology,” Ossoff said.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom; edited by Richard Pullin

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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