Legislation that included $555 billion for renewable energy incentives has stalled in the Senate, leaving climate experts and lawmakers scrambling for solutions.
The Build Back Better Act passed in the House, while the Senate is expected to vote on the legislation in January.
However, the bill needs full support from Democrats, and with Sen. Joe Manchin’s opposition, the bill cannot move forward in its current form.
With Build Back Better, homeowners would get incentives to install rooftop solar panels and insulate their homes, and clean energy companies would receive tax rebates for manufacturing in the U.S.
Currently, China produces the most solar panels globally.
Solar and wind power have been rapidly growing in the U.S. with falling costs over the past few years. However, scientists don’t believe the current growth is enough to combat climate change.
Scientists believe renewable energy efforts need government support in order to reach climate goals.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said senators would vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act, and that voting would continue until a solution was found.
Meanwhile, states are taking renewable energy into their own hands. In Washington state, residents installed around 38.6 megawatts of solar power this year, which is a 10-fold increase from a decade ago.
Experts say New York has 13 times this amount of solar installed, and Oregan has three times the amount.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is asking lawmakers to provide $100 million in grants to support the expansion of solar installations.
The price of solar has dropped 11 percent in the state over the past five years, but still remains relatively expensive. Local, state, and federal incentives are available to lower the costs.
While experts were depending on the Build Back Better Act for support and significant renewable energy changes in 2022, motivation is strong for residents and companies to take matters into their own hands.
If the legislation fails in January, experts say new regulations would be helpful. The long-term goal, however, is to make it cheaper for everyone to get solar panels on their roofs.
Some Democrats are optimistic that they will be able to make enough revisions to the Build Back Better Act to find common ground on climate change provisions and many other aspects of the $2 trillion bill.
Experts say some supply chain issues with solar installations have eased, and pushing both roof-top and ground projects is needed.
Ground installations currently are more cost-effective than roof top. Additionally, those whose properties are not suited for solar — and those who don’t own properties — could benefit from community ground installations.