U.S. Senate Considering Legislation That Would Renew 1603 Program


The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Section 1603 program, which expired at the end of 2011, could be revived via a proposed amendment to the Surface Transportation Bill (S.1813), legislation focusing on highway improvements.

An amendment proposed by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., would extend the 1603 program and other renewable energy tax incentives, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said in an email to members.

The amendment – known as amendment #1812 (Energy Tax Extenders) – is one of 30 amendments that the Senate will consider adding to S.1813 before a vote on the final legislation takes place. It must receive 60 votes in order to be included in S.1813, according to the Senate Majority's website.

Voting on the amendments began today, and the remaining amendments are scheduled to be taken up on Tuesday.

The 1603 program provided a 30% cash grant in lieu of tax credits to eligible solar projects and proved to be enormously popular among solar developers until its expiration. The renewal of this program ranks among the top legislative priorities for SEIA and many solar firms.

President Obama's proposed fiscal-year 2013 budget also provides for an extension of the 1603 program. However, this budget must clear a series of legislative hurdles in order to be implemented as originally written.

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