Democrats hope to expand solar tax credit for small businesses

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WASHINGTON, Aug 3 - A pair of Democrats hope to improve a U.S. federal renewable energy tax credit to make it easier for consumers to install roofs with solar shingles like those made by Tesla Inc and GAF Energy, betting that it will boost a nascent segment of the industry.

The bill, presented by New Jersey Congresswoman Hannah Friedland and Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff, would expand the solar tax credit for small businesses and residential consumers to include entire roofing systems that incorporate solar power technology.

The lawmakers see a good chance that measure will be folded into the Democrats' budget reconciliation bill, expected to carry out some of President Biden's key climate change measures affecting power and transport.

It's these kinds of improvements to the tax code that can really spur innovation, said Sherrill whose district includes GAF's headquarters. I want GAF and others to produce those solar roof tiles across the country and around the world.

She said she met with GAF on the topic in May.

In recent months, companies like Tesla and GAF are selling solar roof tiles, but have been slow to attract customers.

The residential investment tax credit will be phased out for solar system in 2024. Biden has pushed for a 10 year extension of the credit.

GAF, a unit of the private conglomerate Standard Industries, is among the farthest along in the development of technology. The company installed its products on more than 2,000 U.S. rooftops, it told Reuters in May.

Tesla has been installing solar roof products for about three years, but has not disclosed how many they've put up. The company did not respond to a request for comment.

This is future-looking legislation, anticipating how the technology will progress, Ossoff said.