An investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a tax credit given to individual taxpayers or corporations that invest in specific types of projects that engage in renewable energy.

ITC is provided by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of an economic stimulus package. Numerous administrations have either renewed it or modified its structure to fit their goals.

Goal of Investment Tax Credit

The primary goal behind the investment tax credit is to stimulate new investment by businesses. This means creating jobs and keeping work in the United States rather than overseas.

By providing incentives for both individuals and corporations to invest in specific large-scale projects, it is hoped that the money spent will result in a surge of economic growth.

How Does the Investment Tax Credit Work?

Qualifying entities may claim a tax credit of up to 30% of the capital costs of their specific projects. A five-year period is vested upon qualifying ITC projects. In the event that a project is sold within the five-year period, recapture shall be made upon the unvested portion of the ITC.

Per the current law, the amount that may be availed for ITC projects will mainly depend on two things:

  • the type of technology used in the project
  • the construction period of the project

Taxpayers may claim certain percentages of capital costs following the situations below:

  • 26% of the ITC if they start construction on their eligible solar projects during 2020 and 2021
  • 30% of the ITC if they start construction on their eligible solar projects between 2022-2032
  • 26% of the ITC if they start construction on their eligible solar projects in 2033
  • 22% of the ITC if they start construction on their eligible solar projects in 2034

Unless Congress renews it, the tax credit will expire in 2035.How_Does_the_Investment_Tax_Credit_Work

Who Qualifies for the Investment Tax Credit?

The ITC is given to entities that engage in renewable energy projects such as: 
- solar,
- biogas,
- geothermal, and
- fuel cell energy.

It also requires that these companies use domestically-sourced technology.

Benefits of the Investment Tax Credit

The advantages of the ITC can be divided into two main aspects, namely economic and environmental.

Economic Benefits

There are 4 main reasons the ITC is beneficial economically:

  1. It stimulates the economy. It makes more money available for other businesses to invest in their projects through the tax credits they earn. These tax credits can act as savings to offset the total costs of projects. This makes possible new investments in expansion or new projects more feasible.
  2. Firms are able to save significantly on their annual tax bill by investing in large-scale renewable energy projects using this credit.
  3. It also helps improve the infrastructure needed to support renewable energy, such as solar panels or wind turbines. If corporations are allowed to claim the ITC on their expenses, this will help reduce costs resulting in lower prices for consumers.
  4. Lastly, this would increase revenue through taxes paid out by individuals and companies engaging in these projects.

Environmental Benefits

Renewable energy projects provide a number of environmental benefits:

  1. It combats the negative effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels such as coal or petroleum.
  2. It encourages the use of environmentally-friendly technologies. This allows for less reliance on fossil fuels and more use of renewable energy. This will also mean more jobs available for those who wish to contribute to saving or protecting the planet.
  3. It motivates other companies to invest in renewable energy by showing its profitability through other companies' successes with ITCs. The more corporations see the benefits of green technologies over traditional ones, the more likely they are to follow suit and increase their own investments in similar ventures.

Final Thoughts

The Investment Tax Credit has proven beneficial for both taxpayers and corporations alike by making them more efficient through tax incentives and by making them more environmentally friendly and less reliant on fossil fuels.

Those who invest in renewable energy technologies can now save significantly on their taxes and those who engage in these projects will be able to generate more jobs –all of which will benefit both the economy and the environment.


1. Who may be eligible for the Investment Tax Credit?

The Investment Tax Credit can be claimed by those who engage in renewable energy projects such as solar, biogas, geothermal, and fuel cell.

2. Do I need to hold a certification or license to claim the Investment Tax Credit?

A certification or license is not required for entities who want to make use of the Investment Tax Credit. However, companies should ensure that they invest in domestically-sourced technologies. The type of technology used in the energy generation project, as well as the period of construction, are factors that are considered in the Investment Tax Credit.

3. What is the goal behind the Investment Tax Credit?

The goal of the Investment Tax Credit is to make renewable energy more affordable and accessible for commercial entities. It encourages companies to invest in green technologies which are better for the environment, as well as the economy.

4. What type of equipment qualifies for the Investment Tax Credit?

The Investment Tax Credit applies to any technologies that result in less greenhouse gas emissions than traditional ones available at that time – such as solar panels, wind turbines, and geothermal pumps.

5. What are renewable energy projects that qualify for the Investment Tax Credit?

Renewable energy projects are those that have a positive net present value and produce energy utilizing sustainable sources such as sunlight, water, bioenergy (including biogas and biodiesel), ocean (tidal and thermal), wind, geothermal heat, or farm residues; do not emit any air pollutants; use technologies available in the general public; and can be expected to remain in operation for a long period of time.


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