In a blog promoted by conservative media, The Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markay criticized a report finding that a federal solar tax credit can more than pay for itself. Heritage claimed the study "assumes that solar companies that enjoy the tax breaks in question will survive." Pointing to failed solar-panel makers like Solyndra, Heritage said "a number of the recipients of the solar tax credit may not be around to produce the returns projected " in the study. But in fact, the report analyzed a tax credit for consumers of solar panels, not tax credits for manufacturers.
The report, conducted by the U.S. Partnership on Renewable Energy Finance (a coalition of financiers who support renewable energy) found that the Investment Tax Credit for solar photovoltaic installations can deliver a return on investment over a 30-year period under an increasingly popular investment arrangement in which developers lease solar power systems to businesses and homeowners, who then make taxable payments over several years for the system or pay for the electricity generated. These and other taxes directly related to the installation and operation of the solar systems would more than offset the initial cost to the federal government over the study period, according to the analysis.
The report shows that renewable energy can be a fiscally sound investment for the government -- contrary to claims made by some in the conservative media who attack any and all efforts to encourage renewable energy use. Tax credits for renewable energy have been supported by Republicans in the past. The tax credit in question was initially signed into law by George W. Bush.