North Carolina became a hotbed of climate leadership as The Conference of Major Superiors of Men, representing 17,0000 Catholic Preist passed a resolution earlier this month to take fervent action on climate change. The resolution couldn't have come at a better time as North Carolina solar power companies called on religious leaders to help them overcome a stonewall. Koch Industries released a radio ad this week encouraging North Carolina's lawmakers to "freeze the requirement that utilities use increasing amounts of renewable energy," a move that would undo years of clean energy work in the region.
Joined by religious leaders from Kehillah Synagogue, United Church of Chapel Hill and our partner, N.C. Interfaith Power and Light, renewable energy companies are encouraging lawmakers to maintain a crucial tax credit that would enable them to continue offering affordable solar panel installation.
Rabbi Jen Feldman of Kehillah Synagogue shared, “We came at this from a place of faith. Climate change is such a huge, intractable problem that you can be stunned into doing nothing. That’s not a Jewish value."
Regional faith leaders not only share a moral imperative to protect solar power but a financial one as well. North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light executive director, Susannah Tuttle shared, “The tax credit is a huge reason that so many houses of worship have been able to install solar panels on their roofs.” Tuttle continued, “It’s taken years for many of them to get to the point where they are ready to move forward with installation. But if the tax credits are not continued, those projects will just stop.”
Jeff Jeffrey | Triangle Business Journal
After failing to get support from the North Carolina’s largest public utility, a group of residential solar installers has appealed to a higher power in their effort to convince state lawmakers to extend the 35 percent renewable energy tax credit that is set to expire at the end of the year.
The solar installers have teamed with representatives of the religious community to continue making their case that without the tax credit, the companies will lose out on hundreds of installation jobs – and millions of dollars in revenue. They are calling on the General Assembly to pass a two-year extension to the tax credit that steps it down over time.
On the solar industry side, the new coalition includes top executives from Baker Renewable Energy, Southern Energy Management, Sundance Power Systems and Yes! Solar Solutions. They are joined by religious leaders from Kehillah Synagogue and the United Church of Chapel Hill and from the N.C. Interfaith Power and Light, a nonprofit organization that works on behalf of religious groups on climate change issues.