Cloudy Outlook for Alternative Energy Tax Credits


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Cloudy Outlook for Alternative Energy Tax Credits

The solar energy tax credit is slated to expire at the end of 2008 and supporters are hard at work to get it extended. The current law provides an investment tax credit for business in addition to incentives for residential use.

Extension of the solar credit and credits related to wind, geothermal and other renewable forms of energy were originally included in the energy bill last year. While the bill passed, these credits were removed at the last minute. Opposition was centered on reducing incentives for the oil and gas industry as a way to pay for the credits. The Senate was one vote short of including these credits in the larger energy bill.

Extension was then again considered when the Senate Finance Committee approved a one year extension in their proposed economic stimulus bill. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) was the prime champion of this effort. Congressional leadership and the White House decided to limit the number of items included in the final stimulus package and the energy tax credits did not make the cut.

Supporters are now turning their attention to other legislative options. There is a possibility that the alternative energy credits could be renewed this year and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) recently said that an energy tax bill could be taken up early as mid-February. While a lot of support for offering these kinds of incentives exists, the major challenge will be figuring out how to pay for them, particularly under the “pay-as-you-go” rules that Congress is trying to meet.

Solar energy is becoming an issue of increasing importance for our industry. SEMI will monitor any energy legislation as it arises and weigh in with Members of Congress on the issue. We have also created a new Special Interest Group since so many member companies are involved in photovoltaics. The PV Group is a SEMI special interest group dedicated to serving the PV manufacturing supply chain. Members provide the essential equipment, materials and services necessary to produce clean, renewable energy from photovoltaic technologies. The PV Group is committed to lowering costs for PV energy and for expanding the growth and profitability of SEMI members serving this essential industry. For more information, please visit www.pvgroup.org.

February 13, 2008