Solar 30% Tax Credit To Now Renewed For 5 More Years, PV Stocks Soar (Update)

2 years ago by Jay Cole 94

A 580 kilowatt solar array was recently added to the roof of Baltimore Operation’s e-Motor building, where electric motors and drive units for the Chevrolet Spark EV are built. This new array is made up of approximately 2,420 panels and covers 87 percent of the e-Motor building’s roof.

A 580 kilowatt solar array was recently added to the roof of Baltimore Operation’s e-Motor building, where electric motors and drive units for the Chevrolet Spark EV are built. This new array is made up of approximately 2,420 panels and covers 87 percent of the e-Motor building’s roof.

The “solar cliff” looks to have just been avoided.

PV Stocks Soar Wednesday (SolarCity Residential Install)

PV Stocks Soar Wednesday (SolarCity Residential Install)

The 30% federal credit for solar energy was set to expire in 2017, to be replaced with a 10% credit for businesses and eliminated entirely for residential solar consumers; basically signalling a huge roadblock for widespread PV adoption in about~13 months time.

However, late last night House Republicans took the wraps off of new legislation which had provisions for five year extensions of tax credits for solar and wind.

UPDATE:  As expected, the extension of the solar and wind credits has passed.

Shortly after the house approved the bills Senator Dianne Feinstein urged her fellow Senators to also vote in favor of the package, “May the force be with you,” in a cute homage to the latest Star Wars release today; apparently that was all the convincing needed.

And if that action seemed a bit odd for the Republications…or at least a bit out of character, well, there are trade-offs.  The cost was the end of protracted negotiations with the Democrats over the ban on exports of U.S. crude oil.

The extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind is widely expected to now be approved shortly (Thursday or Friday) as Democratic leaders said yesterday they would support new Republican proposals, provided those renewable energy credit extensions were attached.

House Minor­ity Lead­er Nancy Pelosi had worried that she had not secured enough votes to pass the bill, while stating in a letter to lawmakers that it was a good deal in the long run.

“Furthermore, while lifting the oil export ban remains atrocious policy, the wind and solar tax credits in the Omnibus will eliminate around ten times more carbon pollution than the exports of oil will add.

For myself, after long and serious study of the bill’s details, I concluded that while I detest lifting the oil export ban, I will not empower Big Oil to upend so many victories for hard-working American families.

As you pray and think over this decision, I hope you will join in making these critical achievements a reality for the American people.”

Politics aside, it is a big win for renewable energy, and a even bigger win for the likes of Solar City, First Solar, and Sun Edison.

Specific to solar (ITC): The 30 percent credit would now get phased down through 2022, but remain at 30% until 2020, then fall to 26%, then 22% in 2021, and 10% in 2022.  There is also a rider stating that  in progress commercial constructions can get extensions for in development projects through to 2024.

Solar City Surges 34% On Solar Tax Credit Extension (quote via Yahoo! Finance)

Solar City Surges 34% On Solar Tax Credit Extension (quote via Yahoo! Finance)

The Nissan LEAF Also Features A Solar Panel, Good For Upwards Of 10 Watts - Good For Topping Up That 12V

Nissan LEAF Featuring PV: Good For Upwards Of 10 Watts To The EV’s 12V!

Elon Musk’s Solar City was the recipient of the largest stock boost on Wednesday on news of the renewal, closing up $13.64 at $53.69 – good for a tidy gain of 34%.

Given the close relationship between residential renewable energy and the ownership of plug-in vehicles, this is a big win for both industries.

Speaker Paul Ryan said he fully expects this motion to get passed:

“I am not going to predict how the vote count will go down…in negotiations like this; you win some, you lose some. Democrats won some, they lost some, we won some, we lost some. At the end of the day, we are going to get this done.

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94 responses to "Solar 30% Tax Credit To Now Renewed For 5 More Years, PV Stocks Soar (Update)"

  1. sven says:

    Great news!

    1. sven says:

      Unfortunately, this bill was not all good news for Elon Musk and his companies. It was good for Solar City, but bad for SpaceX.

      “Sens. Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, teamed up to allow the U.S. to buy rockets from Russia for satellite space launches. The language would benefit contractor United Launch Alliance, which is in a fight with Elon Musk’s SpaceX over future Air Force contracts.”

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/16/politics/congress-obamacare-sledding-oil-export-campaign-finance-cybersecurity/index.html

      1. jerryd says:

        Sorry but SpaceX can do it cheaper than ULA even with the Russian engine.
        So really won’t change much since SpaceX will also be reusuable, ULA, Russia, etc won’t stand a chance .

    2. ClarksonCote says:

      This explains the huge jump in ENPH (a microinverter stock) over the last couple days too (and about 39% yesterday)

      1. Brian Smith says:

        I suspect that the price of ENPH was impacted more strongly by the analyst upgrade, FWIW

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          True, but I also suspect the upgrade was based in part on this development. I could be wrong though, and haven’t had any time to look into it further. 😉

  2. DNAinaGoodWay says:

    Very nice. How about EV incentives? Think they’ll bump it up to $10k at POS and/or raise the 200k OEM cap?

    1. Mike616 says:

      That would be great. Have you heard anything?

    2. TX NRG says:

      EV deductions for 2 wheeled vehicles were restored in the tax extenders bill. Didn’t see any changes for EV autos.

    3. miggy says:

      They need to cut all EV incentives and just increase the tax on petrol / gas.

      1. Ambulator says:

        Agreed, but that’s not popular among the electorate. The only thing a politician gets for supporting that position is the loss of his job.

      2. Nix says:

        miggy — That won’t work. Proof is that over in Europe they have had gas prices that are really high for decades due to high gas taxes.

        Yet it wasn’t until there was a CARB mandate in California that EV’s and PHEV’s finally got built and sold to the public in large scale.

        Punishment taxes like a tax on carbon don’t work unless there is a viable alternative to ALL consumers paying the tax. With a cigarette tax, you can always stop smoking. With a tax on gas, there are only so many people who can actually buy the limited number of EV’s/PHEV’s available in the new and used car markets.

        In another decade or two, I will completely agree with you. But right now it would just be a tax on being poor, because there aren’t enough electric vehicles to go around for everybody who wants to avoid paying that sin tax for gas.

        1. martinwinlow says:

          Is the public transport system in the US *that* bad that people couldn’t get around using it rather than own and drive a car? Even in the big cities? MW

      3. SparkEV says:

        Calling for more taxes, you must be so happy with government that you want to give even more money to them. Most of us would agree government is terrible money waster and killers (ie, $650B for defense, constant wars). Giving them more money will only make it worse, even for EV, not better.

        I propose the opposite; $27,500 EV tax credit that rolls over for those making under $120K/yr (2X median income) until there are as many EV as gas cars. Then credit begins to decrease proportionately until no gas car.

  3. Boris says:

    Wouldn’t 20% credit with slower phase-out make more sense?

    1. Speculawyer says:

      We can do that 5 years from now. 🙂

    2. Anthony says:

      Thats sort of what it does – starting in 2021 the ITC starts to go down by 20% per year until it its down to 10%.

      Honestly, I think solar is just about to the point to be able to stand on its own two feet.

      The biggest headwind wasn’t the phase-out of the ITC, rather the removal of net metering by local utility companies. This will have a big negative impact on the ROI customer would have. Instead of paying a system off after about 12 years, it stretches that all the way out to about 20 years, given the same purchase price.

      1. Samwise says:

        Even if it can stand on it’s own two feet, we are still going to need as much as we can get rather than only as much as makes economic sense for the companies doing it.
        Until we are certain the fossil fuel energy business is well and truly dead, long may the incentives flow!
        Unfortunately down here in NZ the government is busy encouraging off shore drilling and deliberately ignoring just about everything else.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          Exactly. As long as fossil fuels spew toxic pollutants and/or greenhouse gases and there is no carbon tax to cover that, then there should always been incentives for green energy. Even if the green energy is CHEAPER than the fossil fuel.

        2. super390 says:

          I hate to say it, but in our system what we’re working towards is the day the solar & wind lobbies can be as wealthy and powerful as the coal & oil lobbies, which means they can take care of themselves in the subsidies racket without our added support. That’s been going on ever since the government subsidized canal-building.

      2. jerryd says:

        Anthony, not if you go offgrid where you can get 2-5 yr paybacks.
        The monthly fees pay for batteries, generator and very low inverter costs make it very cost effective.

  4. pjwood1 says:

    Jay breaks his own rules!! 😉 ;)…unless we can claim a 30% discount on a Fisker.

    Wind credit is getting restarted, then going down from about 2.3 cents per kwh, to 1.9 cents for 2017 projects, then a slow down ramp over 5 years.

    This is good for stationary storage, too.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      I’m getting in my old age, (=

      Maybe we’ll add in a picture of a PV juicing up an EV, or as you suggest a shot of a Fisker in the sun…or maybe a Nissan LEAF’s 12V getting the world’s slowest top-off via solar, lol


      /balance restored

      1. jim stack says:

        An Electric Vehicle under a Solar PV Shade charging is the smartest. Like this image

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          I really wish they would cover these cars in solar panels. In that it would most likely equal a few miles if the car sits in a hot burning parking lot for seven to nine hours a day. It’s mainly based off of the thought of that power being wasted hitting the metal roof of the car.

          1. Sveno says:

            Cars are curved, efficient PVs are not. Attaching a PV to the car body and making it streamlined is very costly. For a single body panel (roof) it might be doable with a flexible but inefficient panel.

            1. heisenberght says:

              Think of it this way:

              Why can’t a solar roof be seen as a structural part of the car?

              The fact that solar panels are flat has advantages, but it is nothing that could be changed. A slightly curved panel is doable.

              There are many things to take into account when thinking about the addition of solar panels to a car.

              -How often will the car be in sunny locations?

              -What is the weight gain due to the panel?

              -What do we save by not needing to paint the roof?

              -How much are people willing to pay for some free miles? More than for a high-end-sound-system?

              IMO it would be nice to see that option not to be neglected. There is a lot going on at the solar cells front… Once they invent a direct deposition method for silicium, graphene or perovkite something organic or whatever compound that can be used for solar cells all that will be logical. Just use that instead of expensive paint…

              Well, just another time I start to get lost in fairytale-land 😉

              “http://spectrum.ieee.org/nanoclast/green-tech/solar/graphene-and-perovskite-lead-to-inexpensive-and-highly-efficient-solar-cells”

              “http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/renewables/ultrathin-solar-cells-for-lightweight-and-flexible-applications-”

              “http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/materials/laserprinted-polysilicon-transistors-on-paper”

              Time will tell, but I tend to be quite positive, having followed the whole solar cells discussion since the ninetees of last century 😉

              Call to the car makers who listen: Create an option for a solar roof – with good specs 😉 – and let the customer decide!

              And dont forget: without solar energy there will never exist a car with “generalized full autonomy” 😉

              1. x says:

                I do agree with you !
                even if it wouldn’t make financial sense but the idea that simply parking outside could get you few extra kilometers is just another plus (vs the big ICE-oil business).
                plus the solar challenge competition shows that there ‘s significant room for improvement.
                Although the perovskite path is/seems most attractive there are as we speak cells with about 44% efficiency, let alone the infrared energy that is not harvested by current technology. maybe 20 years from now people would look back in disbelief why we ignored this solar+battery path.

              2. PjkPA says:

                The amount of electricity generated is totally useless … It’s like drinking a teaspoon of water … It does nothing but add useless cost… You only flaunt your ignorance when suggesting it.

          2. super390 says:

            It is not surprising that the most exciting solar car research comes from isolated Australia. We have been raised to think of a car as a universal product, which can function conveniently from Montana to Manhattan. But most Americans don’t live in places where solar cells on a roof can be a significant range extender. So that would always have to be an optional feature, unless the desert Southwest develops its own car industry.

            It just seems to me that if I owned a car in Arizona I would want to protect it from the sun as much as possible. If I couldn’t park indoors, I’d want the car to have a way to self-deploy a fabric cover over itself, like a really big, loose convertible roof. If flexible solar cells could be incorporated into the fabric then I’d be very happy.

  5. sven says:

    Is the lifting of the ban on exports of U.S. crude oil permanent or for a limited time, like the solar tax credit?

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Sadly, I think it is permanent. That probably made the GOP feel that they got a good deal.

      But if we went through another oil crisis, I think they could pass it again.

      1. BraveLilToaster says:

        Considering how wildly forward thinking the GOP is, I doubt they understand that the world just agreed to stop using oil as soon as they can, thus drying up the market for American oil.

        So they certainly got less of a deal than they think they got. Also, this makes very little sense to their own base, as it almost certainly means that the price of gas is going to go up in America.

        1. Not to go down the political rabbit hole, but I’m pretty sure the GOP considers this a win because more oil exports now help to preserve more of the jobs that depend on the oil economy in the U.S. Politicians have learned that their constituents like to be gainfully employed, so anything they can do to help with that is a win. Well, at least Republican constituents like to be gainfully employed. 🙂
          Regarding oil’s diminishing role in the world, it will probably take 50 or more years before that really winds down. None of the current crop of politicians in Congress will still be in Congress by then, they likely won’t even be living anymore. And no politicians, D or R, care about what is going to happen after they exit office.

          1. Ocean Railroader says:

            There is a thing relating to oil that could greatly effect the global supply and it relates to a large volume of solar panels needing to be built. In Saudi Arabia they have huge oil burning power plants that burn four to six million barrels of oil a day to make electricity. Meanwhile power demand is growing very fast in Saudi Arabia. This is forcing Saudi Arabia to divert more and more global oil production to local power production shrinking the pool of oil they can sell.

            If they could add two thousand megawatts of solar power complicity to mix in power with the oil fired power plants it could reshape global oil demand by freeing up a million barrels a day.

          2. Mister G says:

            Democrat here..that likes to be employed to provide for my family.

            1. super390 says:

              When no one can show any respect for tax-funded workers unless they’re part of the military-industrial complex or the police-prison complex, the term “gainful employment” itself becomes political. Actual data on the economic benefits of various types of government spending is completely ignored.

  6. Epicurus says:

    Now change the EV tax credit to a point of sale rebate.

  7. Loboc says:

    “lifting of the ban on exports of U.S. crude oil” This is just silly.

    Why allow exporting when it costs more to pump the oil than you get on the open market?? They should have done this when oil was $100+/bbl so our oil companies could actually make some money (and pay taxes on it).

    1. Speculawyer says:

      Well, that made it a great bargaining chip to trade then, eh? 😉

      1. ffbj says:

        Yes, and exporting of crude, as with the completion of the keystone pipeline will not be the panacea the oil lobbied backed Republicans hope it will be.

        You see they have this fallacious philosophy that if they could just get their way, laissez-faire, just let poor business alone and the market will take care of itself.
        Yawn.

    2. liberty says:

      The reason oil companies want to export, is that there is light sweet stuff coming out of the ground with a big spread in price to the mucky oil sands or sour saudi oil. Integrated oil and refiners make money on the spread.

      Exporting US oil makes sure the sweet stuff doesn’t sell at a discount in the US and rise in the rest of the world. This encourages more oil burning and running out faster making each barrel more profitable for oil companies.

      Bad for america but good for exxon and chevron.

  8. Speculawyer says:

    I so rarely get to say this but: Good job, Congress!

    You made a deal! The GOPers got their oil export ban lifted and the Dems got tax-credits for renewables extended. Old-fashioned horse-trading. That is the way our government is supposed to work! I hope this type of thing continues instead of all the obstructionism of the past 5 years.

    1. islandboy says:

      Hey Spec, I notice I haven’t seen you at the new haunt where the old gang from TOD are hanging out these days. I have been hanging out there a lot and based on what I’ve been reading, this is a real coup for the Democrats. Here’s why, they got something meaningful for something meaningless. I mean who exactly has been beating down the doors of US oil producers to buy their oil? Added to that there is a glut of oil on the world market, mainly as a result of US shale oil production so how is US exporting crude going to help anybody?

      Westtexas from TOD, posting under his real name at the new haunt, has pointed out that it is very light and not compatible with US refineries that have been set up to process heavier grades of crude but, is there somewhere in the world that has refineries geared up to handle this super light crude that, is having problems sourcing supplies and is willing to pay more?

      Finally, how are US oil exports going to help US consumers? How are they going to help US producers when the world market is oversupplied? It is a hollow victory for the Republicans since the US still imports a third of the oil it uses so exports will be pretty meaningless.

      Got to go and see if Darwinian has a top post up about this.

      1. Speculawyer says:

        where is this new place? PO.com? I’ve seen Rockman posting there.

      2. Speculawyer says:

        Regarding the oil:

        Yeah, this was basically a gift to the US oil companies that can get a better price for their light sweet crude at foreign refineries that are not geared to handle the heavier crude. They’ll pay a premium for it. And Canada wants the light oil too so they can use it to dilute their bitumen.

        So it will make some billions for some US oil producers. Thus, the GOP did give a nice pay-back to their oil & gas campaign donors. However, politically, it is not great for them . . . this doesn’t really help the American people at all. They’ll try to spin it like it does but it is not a convincing case.

  9. kdawg says:

    So now Texas can sell its oil anywhere it wants, but Tesla still can’t sell its cars in Texas.

    1. ffbj says:

      File it under ‘odd but true.’ Sheesh!

    2. ModernMarvelFan says:

      TX is big in wind power, thus this renewal of credits.

      If Tesla motors is HQed in TX, it would have been a different story.

      1. Josh says:

        This deal is big for Wind and Texas. Texas has the most wind power by more than double any other state. Houston has the most wind power company offices in the country.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          Texas is in the process of building a massive 750 mile long DC direct current power line that allow them to sell their wind power in Illinois and Tennessee and the east cost power grid. This will allow them to export the massive surpluses of wind power.

    3. Josh says:

      I live in Houston and see multiple Telsa a day on my 15 miles of commuting. There is two service center, two “galleries” and two SuperCharger locations within 1 hr of my house. Telsa has no problem moving vehicles in Texas.

  10. GeorgeS says:

    Gee ain’t politics just grand.

    It works sometimes.

  11. Anthony says:

    Did anyone check to see if the Section 179 (“Hummer tax loophole”) was changed? I read over the summary document and at first though it was reinstated, but then I read it again and I couldn’t tell one way or another.

    This would allow Model X SUVs to be bought using that loophole and reduce the cost by 40%+ when used for business purposes.

    1. Big Solar says:

      isnt there a luxury car tax write off limit? I heard that a few years ago…..?

    2. flmark says:

      Since people keep perpetuating this nonsense, I will keep TRYING to negate it…there is no such thing as making it ANY cheaper; Section 179 is about moving depreciation dollars into the first year of ownership…now or later, Section 179 simply aids you in WHEN you want to deduct the EXACT SAME DOLLAR AMOUNT!!!!

  12. Ambulator says:

    I see this as lose-lose for the American people. Their taxes go up to subsidize useless solar and their gasoline price goes up because of exports.

    A sad day.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      I think you are going to find the next couple of decades very upsetting.

      1. Alain says:

        Some experts prédict thé end of oil 15 to
        20 years,that includes coal,natural gas.the price of Wind and solar will be so low,battery prices too.that and 50 to 80%
        Less cars, 20 to 30 years!

        1. ffbj says:

          NG, is not going away anytime soon. Currently coal is used to produce 40% of our electricity, it might go down to 20% by the end of the decade, but that is unlikely.
          Your so called experts are really just speculating.

          1. Ocean Railroader says:

            They are retiring over 200 coal power plants in the next five years.

            What was crazy on top of that was I was reading a history book on the history of this coal power plant called the Iron Bridge Power Plant. The coal fired power plant had burned coal since the 1930’s. But on the day that I finished reading the book was the last day the coal power plant was open.

          2. Speculawyer says:

            Natural gas will be around for a while but coal is at 38% and dropping. I doubt we’ll see more than a handful of new coal plants built in the USA . . . if any. And they are retiring.

            Coal is a dirty disgusting 17th century garbage fuel that we should stop burning ASAP. It is terrible from the dangerous polluting mining, to the coal dust spewing transport trains, to the toxic emissions from burning (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.), to the massive amounts of greenhouse gases, to the toxic radioactive coal ash.

            With onshore wind, solar PV, hydropower, natural gas, nuclear, tidal, geothermal, offshore wind, biomass, etc. . . . there is just no excuse to burn coal anymore.

            1. ffbj says:

              I agree. I just don’t see the world getting off coal anytime soon. At least they are shutting down the worst older power plants, too expensive to fix, retrofit.
              Still with half a dozen states burning coal almost exclusively for power, over 90% I just don’t see coal going away soon, in the U.S. Worldwide it may even take longer.

              1. Speculawyer says:

                It is definitely going to take a while, but with onshore wind and natural gas being so cheap, coal just can’t compete. And then when you consider all the downsides I mention, even if it can compete financially, it should be excluded due to the externalities.

                I’d like to see no new coal plants built and all the existing plants slowly close down and/or be converted to burn natural gas.

                1. Ziv says:

                  Spec, I thought the reason the price of electricity had been going up was the conversion of electricity production from coal to gas and renewables. Is gas really cheaper than coal? I know it is cleaner, but I thought it was slightly more expensive. And I was under the impression that wind was still more expensive than coal.
                  But I don’t know the field well enough to make a statement about the costs of various fuels or energy sources. Just looking for info or links.

            2. super390 says:

              You’re right, but note that the great economic powers of the last 250 years all used cheap coal on the way up. That’s what keeps seducing less fortunate countries into thinking coal will give them a price advantage in manufacturing.

              I’ve come to think that old empires don’t reform themselves; they’re forced into it after a new empire using new technology forces them to the brink of ruin. Often they just ignore it and actually are destroyed. We have not yet had our first post-coal imperial rise.

    2. flmark says:

      Hmmm…’useless’ solar. This adjective is so moronically misplaced that I suspect you are trying to goad others into a response. Okay, I’ll give you one. My ‘useless’ solar has turned our office electric bill from a predictable $400+ amount into a predictable $9 amount (that would be NINE with no other numbers). And even after I have LONG paid for this capital improvement and profit from the investment, I suspect that the buyer of the business will also not agree that ‘useless’ would be the appropriate adjective. And that doesn’t even address the intangible benefits of cleaner air, etc.

      1. Ambulator says:

        I was purposely somewhat understating the usefulness of solar. It looks like it might work ok to offset the peak air conditioning load in summer, especially if you can get it from one state west of you.

        The biggest problem with solar is the net metering that so many have. Its effect is to move costs from solar panel owners onto non-owners, like most apartment dwellers. Perhaps you aren’t one of those, and your solar would make financial sense without the government subsides, but in that case you are one of a very few.

        1. Speculawyer says:

          No . . . it really doesn’t. I’m on a generous net-metering program. However:
          1) I still pay a $10 ‘minimum service fee’ even though I generate all my net electricity.
          2) I generate lots of excess electricity during peak hours . . . especially hot sunny days when the utility needs everything they can get. They sell my excess electricity to my neighbor at peak daytime rates. They compensate me with cheap night-time electricity that they have more of than they know what to do with. So they make money on me due to rate arbitrage.
          3) With lots of solar PV, the utility doesn’t have to build many expensive peaker plants that only run on those rare days when people are drawing massive amounts of power.

          So, no, the solar PV are not heavily subsidized . . . they actually make money off us too. Not much but we generate our own power.

        2. flmark says:

          ‘Somewhat’ understating…there is little objective commentary you are making- just passionate right wing regurgitation of nonsense. Forget, for the moment, net metering. Our office utilizes electricity pretty much when the sun is at its peak. And every kwh I consume in the office saves the inefficiency of the grid (some say HALF of the power that goes into the grid never reaches the customer). There are many ways to counter your thought pattern; I just don’t have time to deal with any more of this ‘useless’ dialogue.

        3. super390 says:

          If free markets are truly your only guide, then look at the wholesale price records being set by solar companies in Austin and Nevada. Down to 3 cents per kwh and falling fast. The subsidies created a safe investing environment that made the technology possible to cut costs even further. The problem is that so much of the public, like yourself, should be up in arms to find out how to get those prices in every feasible corner of America out of normal greed, yet they act as though it can’t be real, it must be some treehugger propaganda even when it’s in a business magazine.

          I think that’s the mindset of an aging, senile empire. In rising empires, entrepreneurs would all be on the move to solve all objections that are being raised.

          1. Speculawyer says:

            Yeah, I think a lot of conservatives/Republicans are going to be made fools of by renewable energy. Many of them just reflexively say “It costs too much . . . it will triple our electricity bills!” But that is just NOT TRUE. Sure . . 10 or 20 years ago, renewables were very expensive. But today, the solar PV panels are very cheap. The big expense now is in the inverters and installation. But those are coming down too.

  13. jmac says:

    Oil prices are set on the international market. The Saudis are sitting on so much oil that they can single handedly control the price by simply increasing or decreasing production at their own whim.

    And so we have the recent radical drop in oil prices caused by the decision of the Saudis to increase production to maintain their market share (and to shut down U.S. Shale production). The Saudis dumping extra oil on the market has caused the price of oil internationally to go through the floor. This is exactly what the Saudis wanted and said they would do to drive out new U.S. shale oil production. U.S. Shale Oil wells that might be profitable with oil at $80.00 a barrel are no longer profitable at $39.00.

    But, many of the old legacy Saudi wells were cheaply drilled many years ago, are still profitable at even $25-30 per barrel.

    Keeping U.S. produced oil in the U.S. doesn’t really have much effect on the international price of oil.

    That leads me to think that the Wind & Solar people got a pretty good deal. If push comes to shove and there is a war in the mid-east and supplies are shut off, the U.S. could then institute an export ban and use all U.S. production at home.

  14. Phr3d says:

    “But, many of the old legacy Saudi wells were cheaply drilled many years ago, are still profitable at even $25-30 per barrel.”

    Humbly offer, are there Any operations in the middle-east that are Not still outrageously profitable at $30/bbl? I see several gold plated BMWs and Bentleys from the $25/bbl days that say, “uhhmmm, no.” (smiley here)

    1. jmac says:

      Ph3rd

      As you pointed out, he true oil price reality was of course understated. A while back I read that some of the old Saudi wells would be profitable @15 bucks/bbl., even less. Many of them were profitable a $10.00/bbl when they were first drilled. Even new U.S. conventional oil wells can’t compete with the Saudis and their “stick a soda straw in the ground and suck hard”. Tight oil in horizontal shale deposits is even less competitive.

      Best thing long term is to go electric and take the big stick out of the hand of the Arabs. In all likelihood, we never be self sufficient in oil – ever again. Time to switch horses like the Pony Express.

      It’s people like the Koch Bros. and the multinational Western oil companies that promote the false hope of “oil independence” to justify digging ever more endless wells like off the California Coast, Anwar, etc. After these clowns ruin everything in sight, we will still NOT be oil independent, and the heads of these big oil companies know it.

      It’s oil company sponsored misinformation. The oil companies are just using “oil independence” as a subterfuge to go rip up North America to put money in their pockets.

      The fact that Big Oil lobbied Congress to export crude oil and refined products overseas demonstrates loudly that Big Oil does not care about the security of the American people or U.S oil independence.

      Convert to electric now !
      Stop the Madness !

      1. Phr3d says:

        “stick a soda straw in the ground and suck hard”
        better stated than mine, glad my limited-use humor came through – and, agreed,
        ‘Stop the Madness!’

      2. As a conservative who often votes Republican, I prefer the term “energy independence.” Right now oil is part of that, but not forever. I like to tell people all the time that EVs are a big part of our energy independence. All electricity is produced domestically, so if we all switch to EVs we give the Middle East the middle finger!

  15. Mister G says:

    Maybe Republicans have seen the light and want to battle global warming.

    1. ffbj says:

      HaHa! Good one.

  16. shane says:

    Lifting the export ban is mostly to improve system efficiencies (US refineries are geared to heavier crudes, some international refineries are optimised for lighter crudes – this helps each maximize efficiency), and also it is a long-term play for when oil prices return in a few years (and they will). The world is a long way from being done with oil. Still, this is a win-win. Or said another way an honest “all-of-the-above” action on energy sources. Opening up markets allows more US producers to survive the current downturn in oil prices (which, longer term, reduces the spike in oil prices in 5 year, or so). Likewise, extending solar and wind credits, but phasing them down, gives a clearer pathway for solar & wind growth, and more certainty to secure longer term investments. Everyone wins.

    1. Well written comment Shane, thank you.

    2. ffbj says:

      What? Well your facts are not necessarily incorrect although your conclusions are suspect. How does the fact that some U.S. refineries are able to process heavy crude maximize efficiency, when the U.S. does not produce heavy crude make any sense?

      The truth is that Republican oil industry lobbyists have been trying for years to get the keystone pipeline through so that refineries that were upgraded to process the heavy crude, read tar sands oil, that never showed up. So that whole effort, to get keystone trough, was just to justify the investment oil companies had made to their refining infrastructure.
      The Baken and Permian produce light sweet crude.

      Besides which producers can already export gasoline. So once the oil is refined they can just sell it as gas. This whole deal was just another outlet for the oil companies to sell their product. So a win for ‘Big Oil,’
      which does cause me some concern, just due to their history, but good for solar and wind.
      Currently the world is awash in oil so the idea that this a game changer for big oil is a bit silly, at least in the current environment.

      1. shane says:

        ffbj. Over decades the US refineries were setup to take the crude oils that were available. Alot of heavy crude from Venezuela, and other sources. Refineries are like factories – they aren’t perfectly interchangable. Although they can refine any grade of oil (heavy/light, sweet/sour) they were optimised for what was available at the time. Now there has been a very large, new supply of light oil. This underutilizes there ability to refine the more difficult heavy crudes. And, as I said before, with the current oil market conditions it doesn’t have much effect – but 5 years from now when the consequences of all the cancelled and delayed oil production capacity comes home to roost, it’s likely to be different. Very large scale enterprises (energy and others) have decades long planning horizons.

    3. Nix says:

      That’s not how the big players in oil market speculation are playing it.

      They are operating on the long-term premise that they have billions of dollars worth of oil in the ground in reserves tied up in leases and private contracts that have already been bought, and that they have to get it all out as fast as they can.

      Any oil reserves left in the ground the day Horse and Buggy Sales — er, I mean ICE Vehicle Sales become a specialty item, will be like being stuck with billions of dollars of Buggy Whips in some warehouse, worth pennies on the dollar.

    4. jerryd says:

      Shane, our refineries just spent 5 yrs changing back to use light tight oil so it will make little difference.
      LTO is very easy to refine as it is higher gasolines, propane,ethane, butane, wax mostly.
      In fact they are starting t put in mini field refineries producing gasoline, diesel, etc right in the oil field.

  17. Craig Capurso says:

    Elon Musk gets more welfare

    1. shane says:

      Craig: I think there is a society-wide consensus (now reflected through our representatives) that we want to help solar and wind move down the cost curves and move toward industry-level scale. Like other incentives we have in society (tax code and utility incentives), these represent where we want to move to. Not as fast as some want, too fast for others (coal miners & coal communities particularly). It’s a balance. I applaud our representatives working through their differences (and society’s) of opinion and reaching a good compromise.

    2. super390 says:

      Why should he be different than every other car & truck company on Earth?

  18. Nix says:

    Full list of extensions related to “Energy Production and Conservation”

    https://rules.house.gov/sites/republicans.rules.house.gov/files/114/PDF/114-SAHR2029Ex-SxS.pdf

    Sorry for the ugly formatting…. Might be easier to goto the pdf.

    PART 3

    Incentives for Energy Production and Conservation
    Section 1
    81
    . Extension
    and modification
    of credit for nonbusiness energy property.
    The
    provision
    extend
    s
    through 2016 the credit for purchases of nonbusiness energy property. The
    provision allows a credit of 10 percent of the amount paid or incurred by the taxpayer for
    qualifi
    ed energy improvements, up to $500.
    Section 1
    82
    . Extension of credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling
    property.
    The
    provision extend
    s
    through 2016 the credit for the installation of non

    hydrogen alternative fuel
    vehicle refueling property. (Unde
    r current law, hydrogen

    related property is eligible for the
    credit through 2016.) Taxpayers are allowed a credit of up to 30 percent of the cost of the
    installation of the qualified alternative fuel vehicle refueling property.
    Section 1
    83
    . Extension of
    credit for 2

    wheeled plug

    in electric vehicles.
    The provision
    extends through 2016 the 10

    percent credit for plug

    in electric motorcycles and 2

    wheeled
    vehicles (capped at $2,500).
    Section 1
    84
    . Extension of second generation biofuel producer credit.
    The provision extend
    s
    through 2016 the
    credit for
    cellulosic biofuels producers.
    Section 1
    85
    . Extension of biodiesel and renewable diesel
    incentives
    .
    The provision extend
    s
    through 2016 the
    existing
    $1.00 per gallon tax credit for biodiesel
    and biodie
    sel mixtures
    , and
    the small agri

    biodiesel producer credit of 10 cents per gallon. The provision also extends
    through 2016 the $1.00 per gallon production tax credit for diesel fuel created from biomass.
    The provision extends through 2016 the fuel excise
    tax credit for biodiesel mixtures.
    Section 1
    86
    . Extension
    and modification
    of production credit for Indian coal facilities.
    The
    provision extend
    s
    through 2016 the $2 per ton production tax credit for coal produced on land
    owned by an Indian tribe, if t
    he facility was placed in service before 2009.
    A coal facility is
    allowed only nine years of credit. The provision modifies the credit
    beginning in 2016
    by
    removing the placed

    in

    service

    date limitation, removing the nine

    year limitation, and allowing
    th
    e credit to be claimed against the AMT.
    Section 1
    87
    . Extension and modification of credits with respect to facilities producing
    energy from certain renewable resources.
    The provision extends the production tax credit
    for
    certain renewable sources of el
    ectricity to facilities for which construction has commenced by
    the end of
    2016.
    8
    Section 1
    88
    . Extension of credit for energy

    efficient new homes.
    The provision extend
    s
    through 2016 the tax credit for manufacturers of energy

    efficient residential homes. An eligible
    contractor may claim a tax credit of $1,000 or $2,000 for the construction or manufacture of a
    new energy efficient home that meets qualifying criteria.
    Se
    ction 18
    9
    . Extension of special allowance for second generation biofuel plant property.
    The provision extend
    s
    through 2016
    the
    50

    percent bonus depreciation for cellulosic biofuel
    facilities.
    Section 1
    90
    . Extension of energy efficient commercial
    buildings deduction.
    The provision
    extends through 2016 the above

    the

    line deduction for energy efficiency improvements to
    lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, and hot water systems of commercial buildings.
    Section 1
    91
    . Extension of special rule f
    or sales or dispositions to implement FERC or State
    electric restructuring policy for qualified electric utilities.
    The provision extend
    s
    through
    2016 a rule that permits taxpayers to elect to recognize gain from qualifying electric transmission
    transacti
    ons ratably over an eight

    year period beginning in the year of sale (rather than entirely in
    the year of sale) if the amount realized from such sale is used to purchase exempt utility property
    within the applicable period.
    Section 1
    92
    .
    Extension of excise tax credits relating to
    alternative
    fuels.
    The provision
    extend
    s
    through 2016 the 50
    cents
    per gallon alternative fuel tax credit and alternative fuel
    mixture tax credit.
    Section 193.
    Extension of credit for
    new qualified fuel cell motor vehicles
    .
    The provision
    extend
    s
    through 2016 the credit for purchases of
    new qualified fuel cell motor vehicles
    . The
    provision allows a
    credit of between $4,000 and $40,000 depending on the weight of the vehicle
    for the pur
    chase of such vehicles.

  19. Nix says:

    10% tax incentive (up to $2,500) for electric motorcycles also extended through 2016. I don’t know if that is retroactive for EV motorcycles sold in 2015, but it should be since they are calling it an “extension”.

  20. Nix says:

    Everybody also keep in mind that any of these can all be defunded or repealed at any time….

  21. Re:
    “Baltimore Operation’s e-Motor building, where electric motors and drive units for the Chevrolet Spark EV are built. This new array is made up of approximately 2,420 panels and covers 87 percent of the e-Motor building’s roof”

    With 2477 Spark EVs delivered in 2015 (Jan-Nov), this is approximately one panel per Spark EV.
    ie: a panel installed per each e-Motor built. 😉