Democrats aim to boost solar roof tiles in U.S. budget bill

Solar panels from solar energy company SunPower are seen on the roof of their offices in Richmond, California, US, July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – A few Democrats are hoping to extend a US federal renewable energy tax credit to make it easier for consumers to install roofs with solar shingles like those made by Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and GAF ​​Energy. it will boost an emerging segment of the industry.

The bill, introduced by Congressman Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey and Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia, would expand the solar tax credit for private consumers and small businesses to include full roof systems that integrate solar technology.

The current 26% tax credit only covers the solar roof tiles, but not other parts of the roof, something the industry sees as a barrier to attracting new customers.

Lawmakers see a good chance that the measure will be incorporated into the Democrats’ appeasement bill, which is expected to implement some of President Joe Biden’s key climate change measures that affect power and transportation.

“It’s these kinds of tax changes that can really drive innovation,” said Sherrill, whose district includes GAF’s headquarters. “I want GAF and others to start producing those solar roof tiles across the country and around the world.”

She said she met with GAF on the subject in May.

Companies such as Tesla and GAF ​​are selling solar roof tiles but are slow to attract customers.

The tax credit for investments in solar energy is expected to be phased out for residential systems by 2024. Biden has pushed for a 10-year extension of the credit.

GAF, part of the private conglomerate Standard Industries, is one of the most advanced in the development of the technology. The company has installed its product on more than 2,000 U.S. rooftops, it told Reuters in May.

Tesla has been installing its solar roof product for about three years, but has not disclosed how much it has installed. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

“This is forward-looking legislation, anticipating how the technology will evolve,” Ossoff said.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Nichola Groom; adaptation by Richard Pullin

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