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EGEB: Solar industry presents wish list to Joe Biden, Congress

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The US solar industry lays out policies it wants enacted early next year by the Biden administration. 
  • More than half of Virginians want to buy EVs, but there’s an inventory problem.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and Americans’ bank accounts — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card — *ad.

Solar’s wish list for Biden

Top US solar trade group the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) yesterday laid out its list of priorities for the incoming Biden administration. Its goal is to provide 20% of US electricity by 2030, up from just 3% currently.

It’s an extremely comprehensive legislative and executive agenda for 2021 and beyond. It’s organized around three strategic principles:

  • Achieving clean energy goals and developing comprehensive carbon policy
  • Investing in clean energy infrastructure and the workforce needed to build it
  • Ensuring markets are competitive and remain open to clean energy

SEIA President Abigail Ross Hopper said, via Reuters, that the solar industry wants the steep tariffs on imported solar panels, imposed in 2018 by Donald Trump, to be lifted with an executive order issued by Joe Biden. Imported panels dominate US supplies.

The tariff at first increased the price of imported panels by 30% and have dropped by 5% every year. They are scheduled to fall to 18% next year before ending in 2022.

The solar industry also wants Congress to extend solar tax credits by five years, rather than phase them out. It wants the credit to hold at the original 30% level for five years, SEIA said, and are want a similar credit for energy storage.

Four other top priorities include pushing Biden to appoint a “climate czar” who would advance an environmental justice agenda, name Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners who support clean energy, incentivize development of renewable energy on federal lands, and develop policies that would invest in domestic manufacturing.

On November 7, Ross Hopper said:

I want to personally congratulate Joe Biden for his apparent victory in the 2020 presidential election. President-elect Biden’s plan to combat climate change enables our industry to create hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs across the country. 

We will seek progress with the new administration and all members of Congress on solar policies that achieve our environmental and economic objectives and that lift every community in ways that create a better future for all Americans.

Virginians want EVs

Virginia is ripe for widespread adoption of electric transportation, but low electric vehicle inventory and other barriers are preventing the state from doing so, according to a new report from green energy nonprofit Generation180. Transportation is the largest source of carbon emissions in Virginia.

Fifty-three percent of Virginians said they were likely or very likely to consider an EV for their next car. Virginia ranks 13th in the nation for EV sales, despite the fact that Virginia does not have pro-EV policies in place.

Report authors also found availability of EVs at new-car automotive dealers was 44-54% lower in Virginia cities than in comparable cities in neighboring Maryland, which has more supportive EV policies.

Stuart Gardner, Generation180’s Electrify Your Ride program director, told Electrek:

Electric vehicles represent a great opportunity for Virginia. We need policies that will make these innovative products available to Virginians so we don’t get left behind on the benefits they provide for our climate, health, and economy as we transition to a clean energy future.

Report authors recommend Virginia legislators enact three pro-EV policies: 

  • Adopt the Advanced Clean Cars Program Vehicles standards, which would make Virginia a ZEV  state and require auto manufacturers to send EVs to Virginia new-car dealers. 
  • Fund a “point of sale” rebate given to buyers when the car is purchased, plus an added incentive for low- to moderate-income Virginians. 
  • Join the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a group of 12 states collaborating to solve common challenges related to climate change and transportation.

Generation180 is hosting online events today, which are free and open to the public, to discuss its report and the benefits, barriers, and policies needed to spur widespread EV adoption. These events — Why EVs Matter and Electrifying Virginia’s Transportation Policies — are free and open to the public.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.