Federal solar tax credits extended for eight years

The US House of Representatives has passed the revised Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which contains measures to extend the solar investment tax credit (ITC) by eight years.


The landmark legislation is part of H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, designed to address the US financial crisis. It is the most significant federal policy ever enacted for the solar industry. The House voted 263 to 171 to pass financial bailout legislation.


The solar ITC provisions will: Extend for eight years the 30-percent tax credit for both residential and commercial solar installations; Eliminate the $2,000 monetary cap for residential solar electric installations, creating a true 30-percent tax credit (effective for property placed in service after December 31, 2008); Eliminate the prohibition on utilities from benefiting from the credit; Allow Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) filers, both businesses and individuals, to take the credit; Authorise $800 million for clean energy bonds for renewable energy generating facilities, including solar.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said that she is "pleased that the bill includes an extension of tax cuts for clean renewable energy that will create and save half a million good-paying paying jobs in America immediately."


"This was a part of our energy bill last year; it did not survive the Senate. It now has become a part of this legislation. And it is paid for. We fought hard to include these critical tax cuts ... because they are central to job creation," Pelosi said.


California will benefit the most from the credit, as it's the largest solar market in the country, asserted San Francisco Business Times.


To date, there are 27 such utility-scale solar power projects totaling 5,400 megawatts of power in various stages of development; most were on hold due to uncertainty surrounding the expiring tax credits. The states that will enjoy the largest economic boost are California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington.


"By passing this bill, Congress has finally given the solar energy industry 'policy certainty' that will attract investment, expand manufacturing and lower the cost of solar energy to consumers," stated the Solar Energy Industries Association.