Vote Solar Responds to Federal Climate Deal
The Vote Solar team was thrilled to learn that Senator Manchin and Leader Schumer have reached an agreement on strong climate legislation. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 represents an historic investment that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean the air we breathe, and lower monthly energy costs for working families across the nation. It’s heartening to learn that Senator Manchin heeded the calls of the many, many Americans who advocated passionately and persistently for meaningful climate action at the federal level.
If passed, this bill will make clean energy more affordable, accessible and equitable. On initial review, we are particularly encouraged by provisions that would:
- Directly support lower-income or environmental justice communities, including a $7 billion EPA grant program to enable deployment of zero-emission technologies like residential solar.
- Extend and expand the federal clean energy tax credits, which are foundational policies for solar deployment in the US.
- Make solar interconnection costs eligible for federal tax credits for the first time, a change that could help overcome a major barrier to community solar deployment.
While the agreement is a hugely important step, the legislation must be passed and signed into law without further delay. Climate change is already having devastating impacts on communities across the country and world, and the United States has a moral imperative to lead the way into a brighter future. Congress has the opportunity to drastically reduce emissions, lower energy costs, create good-paying jobs, and nurture healthy communities. We urge Senator Manchin, Leader Schumer, and the entire Congress to meet the moment with boldness and political courage. The Vote Solar team, country, and world will be watching closely over the coming days and weeks.
UPDATE: July 29, 2022
Earlier this week, we rejoiced when we learned that Leader Schumer and Senator Manchin reached an unexpected agreement on climate legislation. After what we believed to be a devastating loss for climate action at the federal level, the news of a deal rekindled much-needed hope within our team and the broader clean energy advocacy movement.
At Vote Solar, we believe firmly in leading with humility, being continuous learners, and stepping back to reassess situations when it’s needed. We believe that is needed here.
On our first review of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, we were encouraged to see the inclusion of hard-fought provisions that would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, scale up renewable energy, and support low-income communities. While we still believe that these elements are necessary steps forward in our mission to build a clean energy future, we’ve also achieved clarity around some of the bill’s concerning provisions that would undermine other advances being made towards mitigating climate change and repairing the damage of historic racism in our energy sector. Specifically, the expansion of oil and gas leasing and the threat of new fracked gas pipelines cede significant favor to fossil fuel interests, at the expense of frontline and Indigenous communities already shouldering the heaviest burdens of climate change. Such concessions might be necessary to move the climate provisions in a partisan congress eager to appease polluters, but the planet and the impacted communities can’t afford them.
We recognize the urgent need to reduce polluting greenhouse gas emissions and believe that the Inflation Reduction Act is a far stronger federal solution than no solution at all. While we acknowledge these strides, we share the concern and stand in solidarity with the environmental justice and frontline communities calling for an end to practices that decenter their decision making power and continue to grow our reliance on fossil fuels. Our work to advance just and equitable climate solutions at the state level is more important than ever, and we’re prepared to continue it for the long-term.