WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 350 environmental justice advocates, environmental groups and renewable energy companies today announced the formation of Residential Renewables for All, a coalition focused on expanding access the economic, health, and emissions benefits of clean energy to disadvantaged and lower-income households.
Founding members of the coalition include the National Wildlife Federation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Black Owners of Solar Services, and the NAACP.
Lower-income families and communities of color face significant disparities in clean energy adoption, while spending a disproportionate amount of their income on energy costs and experiencing heightened vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Under the current tax system, 26 million households — including 3.2 million Black households and 3 million Hispanic households — are unable to benefit from residential solar tax credits because they do not have sufficient taxable income.
The coalition is calling for immediate congressional action to make section 25D tax credits for residential clean energy purchases refundable or direct pay, providing more American families with access to resilient, low-carbon energy resources while helping to address systemic economic and environmental injustices and advance the nation's climate goals.
"It is time to Build Back Black and create pathways for Black households and communities of color," said Denise Abdul-Rahman, Regional Field Organizer for NAACP. "We are calling with a unified voice for congressional action to expand renewable energy options to all communities and ensure a just, cleaner and more resilient future for everyone."
"Now is the time to help vulnerable communities go from surviving to thriving by creating a solar-powered energy system that serves all Americans fairly," said Mustafa Santiago Ali, Vice President of Environmental Justice, Climate, and Community Revitalization for the National Wildlife Federation. "By making the residential clean energy tax credit refundable or direct pay, Congress has an opportunity to help realize the vision of an equitable clean energy future."
"Our country's climate commitments will only be met if and when we prioritize policies that encourage the adoption of renewable energy options that everyone can afford," said Paula García, Senior Bilingual Energy Analyst for the Union for Concerned Scientists. "Passing a direct pay option for the residential clean energy tax credit will give us all the opportunity to be directly involved in fighting the dangerous rise of heat-trapping emissions."
"Many families will only fall further behind without access to clean energy options that benefit their health and their homes," said Nicole W. Sitaraman, Policy Chair and Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Sustainable Capital Advisors for Black Owners of Solar Services (BOSS). "Given the state of the climate crisis, expanding access to residential clean energy solutions through equitable tax incentives will enable the rapid deployment of solar we need to protect many of our nation's most vulnerable communities."
"In the wake of Hurricane Ida, as hundreds of thousands of people without the means to evacuate were left in extreme heat, we know there is no solution more powerful than residential solar to protect life and safety," said Logan Atkinson Burke, Executive Director for the Alliance for Affordable Energy. Folks in poor health and those unable to leave town are the very same households at risk of being left out of the renewable energy transition. This is a dangerous inequity, and why solar should be available to vulnerable communities to weather storms safely."
"We are in the midst of a transition that will reshape the American energy system, but risks leaving far too many families behind," said Chelsea Barnes, Legislative Director for Appalachian Voices. "Making residential clean energy tax credits direct pay will help to ensure that we transition to a system that is affordable and fair, while building community wealth and creating jobs across the country."
The coalition is urgently calling on the Senate Finance and House Ways & Means Committees to make section 25D tax credits for residential clean energy purchases refundable or direct pay, citing the challenges lower-income earners with limited or no tax liability face in benefitting from existing federal incentives.
A recent working paper from the RAND Corporation shows that the federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) can be adjusted to provide greater access for low- and moderate-income households in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. Under the current policy structure, the bottom 50 percent of U.S. income earners require an average of more than seven years to monetize the solar investment tax credit – putting solar out of reach for millions of Americans.
Residential Renewables for All is a coalition of more than 300 environmental justice advocates, environmental groups, and renewable energy companies demanding Congress offer a direct pay option for the residential energy efficiency property tax credit (Section 25D) – ensuring equitable access to residential clean energy resources. Learn more at https://resirenewables.com/.
SOURCE Residential Renewables for All