Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) have introduced legislation that they hope will stimulate investment in solar power. The bill (S. 590, the Securing America’s Energy Independence Act) would extend and expand solar energy investment tax credits for homeowners and businesses through 2016. Under current law, the credits are set to expire at the end of next year.
The bill includes the following provisions, to take effect for all equipment installed retroactive to January 1, 2007 and going forward:
Business Solar Tax Credit and Fuel Cell Tax Credit: Extends a 30-percent business credit, established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, for the purchase of fuel cell power plants, solar energy property, and fiber-optic property used to illuminate the inside of a structure. Changes the maximum credit to $1,500 for each half-kilowatt of capacity for solar PV equipment. Credits may be taken against the alternative minimum tax. Expires after December 31, 2016.
Accelerated Depreciation: Creates a three-year accelerated depreciation period for all solar equipment eligible for the business solar tax credit./p>
Residential Solar Tax Credit: Extends a 30-percent tax credit, created in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, for the purchase of residential solar water heating and fuel cell property. Changes the maximum credit to $1,500 for each half-kilowatt of capacity for solar PV equipment and $1,000 for each kilowatt of capacity for fuel cells. Credits may be taken against the alternative minimum tax. Expires after December 31, 2016.
Original Senate cosponsors included Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Lugar (R-IN), John Kerry (D-MA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Wayne Allard (R-CO), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).