U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and John Ensign, D-Nev., successfully latched their Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008 onto housing legislation that was moving through the Senate, passing critical incentives for the solar industry with an 88-8 vote.
Principal among the legislation's incentives is an eight-year extension of the commercial investment tax credit (ITC). A one-year extension of the residential ITC – along with the removal of the existing $2,000 cap – and the suspension of the utility exemption are also included.
Monique Hanis, director of communications for the Solar Energy Industries Association, told Solar Industry that the measure ‘faces some challenges in the House’ and further noted that there are ‘some noises from the White House as well.’
‘But we also feel that it was a strong signal to the White House that renewable energy should be part of the stimulus package, because of the investment dollars that it will bring and the jobs that will be created and preserved,’ she remarked.
‘It's so important that our bill is signed into law,’ Ensign commented in a statement. ‘Without action, key incentives expire, and much development toward renewable energy will slow. In some instances, it could stop. We only have a small window of time to provide the certainty needed to continue investing in, producing and developing renewable energy.’
‘This is really big progress for us, and we're optimistic,’ Hanis added. ‘It was a huge hurdle.’