Today, by a vote of 235-181, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Energy Independence and Security Act – a vital energy bill that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) describes as ‘our industry's top priority.’
According to the office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic lawmaker who spearheaded the bill, the legislation requires utility companies to generate 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
Moreover, the bill features about $21 billion in tax provisions, which includes the suspension of approximately $13 billion in subsidies for the five largest oil companies. That revenue, reports say, will be used for tax incentives to promote renewable fuels and energy efficiency.
The SEIA has called the solar industry's attention to the solar investment tax credit and other tax provisions in the bill:
- an eight-year extension (through Dec. 31, 2016) of the existing 30% investment tax credit for businesses under Section 48 of the tax code;
- removing the prohibition barring utilities from using the Section 48 investment tax credit;
- the ability for commercial filers to claim the investment tax credit against the alternative minimum tax;
- a six-year extension (through Dec. 31, 2014) of the existing 30% investment tax credit for residential solar electric and solar water heating property, and a raised cap on the credit for solar electric property (to $4,000); and
- the ability for personal filers to claim the investment tax credit against the alternative minimum tax.
‘The energy bill now goes to the Senate, where it must get 60 votes in order for the legislation to pass,’ the SEIA says. ‘With the Senate expected to consider the legislation late this week or early next week, now is the time to call on Republican senators to pass the energy bill.’
Early reports from new organizations such as Reuters and CNN indicate that the Bush White House is prepared to veto the bill in its current form.