After the 88-8 vote in the senate last Thursday, I am pleased to announce that we are one step closer to getting all of those fantastic renewable energy tax credits extended for 8 years. Considering that the last 3 attempts to get these tax credits extended have failed, I for one am a happy camper. Now, the bill will go to the house where it will face much scrutiny due to the fact that this bill has not identified a source of funding. The last three failed attempts suggested removing tax breaks for Big Oil and diverting those monies to finance the renewable energy incentives, but our special interest serving senators apparently did not like that idea.
Senator Cantwell and her co-sponsor, John Ensign, have argued that since the incentives would stimulate the economy, Congress should approve them without offsets. We will see what happens when this bill gets to the house, but chances are this argument will not sway them.
Here are some of the details of the proposed bill:
extend the investment tax credit for commercial solar power installations for 8 years
extend the residential solar investment tax credit for one year and remove the current $2000 credit cap
remove the exemption on utilities for claiming these tax credits
allow the tax credit to offset alternative minimum tax
extend incentives for energy efficiency improvements
For more information see the Solar Nation Writeup