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US Solar Industry Urges Congress to Extend Tax Credits  

FILE - A solar panel array collects sunlight, in Fremont, Nebraska, May 31, 2018, with a power plant seen behind it.

Nearly 1,000 solar energy companies have sent a letter to Congress, urging it to extend the tax credits for solar energy projects, which begin to phase out starting next year.

"If you want to show a commitment to addressing climate change, you extend the solar ITC [investment tax credit]," Solar Energy Industries Association President Abigail Ross Hopper wrote.

She called the solar tax credit for homes and industries that switch to solar power one of the most successful clean energy tax policies ever created — leading to more than 200,000 American jobs and $140 billion in solar power investment

"As we debate long-term solutions, now is not the time to abandon the single most successful policy on the books to deploy clean energy in the near term," Hopper wrote.

Congress passed the solar energy tax credit in 2005 and President George W. Bush signed it into law.

It was extended in 2015, but is set to start being phased out next year, so that by 2022, the tax credit will be 10% for businesses and zero for private homes.

But some lawmakers oppose another extension because of a deal they made with oil interests who promised not to fight the temporary 2015 extension if Congress lifted a ban on U.S. crude oil exports.