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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) with Rep. Dave Schweikert (R-AZ) aims to enhance an existing investment tax credit for solar energy jobs—a sector Levin said is crucial in Southern California.

The tax credit—created in 2006—has reportedly become challenging to utilize due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and it also has a looming phase-out period. The Solar Jobs Preservation Act makes the ITC temporarily refundable for projects that break ground by the end of 2021, and extends the phasedown of the tax credit schedule by one year, Levin’s office said.

During a phone interview from Washington, D.C., Levin said he’s heard from solar developers who have been unable to use the tax credit because the market has dried up.

“We will do all we can to get it passed in Congress,” Levin said. “In Southern California, it will have a very positive impact.”

Levin has often emphasized and advocated for addressing energy/climate change-related causes and the pandemic’s economic impact while in office. The legislation ensures solar companies continue to be incentivized, while helping to reduce carbon emissions and creating jobs, Levin said.

The bill has been endorsed by the Solar Energy Industries Association and various environmental groups. It is cosponsored by Representatives Paul Tonko (D-NY) and Paul Cook (R-CA).

“With nearly half a million clean energy workers still out of work from the COVID economic crisis, Congress should provide immediate relief in the form of refundability for the clean energy tax credits,” said Matthew Davis, Legislative Director for the League of Conservation Voters, in a statement from Levin’s office. “We applaud Rep. Levin for his leadership to make refundable and extend the solar tax credits for a year.”

Levin recently won a reelection bid to keep his seat in the 49th Congressional District, fending off Republican challenger Brian Maryott.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com.

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