It’s no secret that over the last few years the alternative energy industry has faced challenges. From new and developing technologies, special interest groups and government feuding, there have been tense moments during which the future of the industry seemed uncertain. This past week, though, another tally was added to the win column of the industry's scorecard as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) were both extended as part of the $1.8 trillion package sent to President Obama's desk for signature.
The tax incentives will provide additional opportunity for the industry to continue to grow. According to Solar Power World, a leading industry news publication, the ITC will be extended from Dec. 31, 2016, and stepped down from 30 percent to 10 percent until 2024. Solar projects that start construction by 2019 will receive the current 30 percent rate, while projects that begin construction in 2020 and 2021 will receive 26 percent and 22 percent, respectively. All solar projects must be completed by 2024 to obtain these elevated rates.
According to SNL Financial, the PTC pays $23 per MWh generated from an elligible wind farm. The new extension of the PTC would see the orginal $23 per MWh cut by 20 percent in 2017, 40 percent in 2018 and 60 percent in 2019. Even with the waning of the tax credit, new wind installations could total around 35,000MW between 2016 and 2019.
Each year there is an increasing push to include more renewable energy as part of the nation’s power mix. Recently, several large utilities have announced that they are embracing the addition of alternaitve energy sources to their companies' production mix. The tax credits will help with the adoption process and the modernization of the nation’s power systems as a result.
With these opportunities also come the need to manage projects. The building of new infrastructure requires the coordination of land and assets. geoAMPS offers the industry leading software altAMPS to do just that in an easy-to-use product. Developed alongside alternative energy veterans, the solution accounts for the unique challenges that each alternative energy project faces. From managing agreements and special provisions, reporting on generation, automating payments and reporting to assigning operations and maintenance to assets, altAMPS has the issues covered.
With the additional incentives to build projects, it is estimated that 220,000 new alternative energy jobs will be added to the industry by 2020. This also includes employing 50,000 veterans at the same time.
Solar energy also has the potential to cut greenhouse emissions by 100 million metric tons and provide the opportunity to retire several traditional power plants. With additional wind capacity, the total will be even greater. There are also hopes that with the extension of the tax credits that solar and wind power in the United States will more than double by 2020, helping the U.S. achieve the goal of providing its citizens with clean, safe and dependable energy.
New to geoAMPS? We are a mobile and cloud-based asset management company for managing land rights and infrastructure assets. Our industry-leading technology helps companies increase thier project management efficiency by an average of 35 percent.
Nathan Mirolo is Marketing and Communications Lead for geoAMPS, a technology company in the Columbus, OH, area that specializes in software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets. For more information, call 614-389-4871 or visit www.geoamps.com.