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A Silver Lining in the Bailout Bill

Renewable energy might be the only clear winner in the recent bailout package signed last Friday, October 3. Someone had the bright idea to extend the tax credits for renewables in that otherwise silly bill.

Renewable Energy World has the details, but here's a quick synopsis:

  • An 8-year extension of the residential and business ITC (Investment Tax Credit) for solar, small-wind and geothermal systems
  • An elimination of the US $2,000 cap on the residential ITC
  • Elimination of the prohibition on utilities from obtaining the ITC
  • Authorization of US $800 million for clean energy bonds for renewable energy generating facilities
  • A 1-year extension of the PTC (Production Tax Credit) for wind projects
  • A 2-year extension of the PTC for geothermal facilities
  • Creates a 2 year ITC for marine energy technologies (tidal, wave, current, ocean thermal)

I believe this means a homeowner can get a 30% tax break on the renewable investment installed between 2009 & 2017. This means if a solar PV system costs $25,000 (not an unusual sum of money for these systems), the homeowner will receive a $7,500 federal tax break. Formerly, the tax break would have been capped at $2,000. And, without Congress getting this added to the bailout, that $2,000 tax break was in serious risk of vanishing. So this is huge from a consumer perspective.

Welcome news in the current economic environment to say the least.

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Right on Tom - now we need to get the states, like Utah, to follow suit. In other nearby states, like Colorado, the tax incentives have been good enough to pay for nearly half of a PV system. Hard to pass up a deal like that.

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