From Solar Nation today... Solar Investment Tax Credit Bill Introduced by Senate Finance Committee ...and this one might actually pass!
As the train that will carry senators and representatives home for the summer vac. gets ready to chug out of Union Station, we think there may be light at the end of the railroad tunnel; we just hope we get there before the Government closes for business.
Senator Baucus, Chair of the Finance Committee, and Senator Reid, Majority Leader, have introduced a Senate version of the storied clean energy investment tax credit bill. It's S3335, the Jobs, Energy, Families and Disaster Relief Act of 2008. It contains the extensions to clean energy investment tax credits (ITC) that we've been promoting for so long, and it could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday July 29th.
What's different this time, that might lead to a bill actually making it through both chambers? Well, on this occasion the document is coming from the Senate with funding provisions attached--the very issue that senators have objected to, for over a year now. This means that a lot of bipartisan shaping of the bill has been going on, to either remove provisions that senators disliked or add provisions that would switch their votes to 'yea' (such as tax relief for those affected by natural disasters this year). But most importantly to the House, it ensures that the clean energy tax credits can be paid for without adding to the deficit. And it means that:
-commercial and residential solar 30% ITCs will be extended for 8 years
-the residential cap on the ITC will be doubled to $4000
-corporate and individual taxpayers can claim the ITC against the AMT
-investor-owned utilities can claim the ITC directly
It sounds like there's a good faith effort, this time, to provide sufficient 'feel-good' measures all around to put the dreaded filibuster to bed. We sure hope so. But to make sure, can you hit your senators one more time with an e-mail, reminding them how important this bill is to the future of solar power in America?