Solar advocates from around the state converged at the State Capitol on April 17, 2017 to advocate for a six-year extension of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) and property tax exemption for on-site solar. The solar incentives were created in 1977 and 1975, respectively, to promote home energy savings and encourage the alternative energy market. They will each expire by year’s end, unless legislators vote to extend them. If they are not extended, the solar industry could experience a substantial downturn.
Approximately 85 solar advocates and professionals gathered in Salem to talk with their legislators about the importance of supporting a strong renewable energy industry in Oregon. Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association (OSEIA) organized the day and made 67 appointments with legislators. The morning kicked off with a bit of training and handout explanation so folks could have the facts and speak from their experience and hearts.
These small group meetings were held between the solar advocates and their State Representative and Senator to urge them to support HB 2681, the extension of the RETC, and HB 2760, the extension of the property tax exemption. These meetings also allowed solar advocates to ask their legislators to approach House Speaker, Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick and encourage them to fund these state programs
Although there was a strong showing of solar advocates and their message about extending Oregon’s solar incentives was well received, legislators still need to hear additional support for the bills. It is important that you write, call or send a personal email to you Representative and Senator. If you know that they support the extensions, thank them and ask your representative to approach both House Speaker, Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick and encourage them to fund these state programs. If you are unsure, encourage them support them and tell them why.
As the advocates learned at Solar Lobby Day, you don’t have to be a professional lobbyist to advocate for a bill. Just use your own words to say why the extension is important to you so that more Oregonians can install solar. Sign up to help extend the RETC.