Economic stimulus package leaves solar industry in the cold

Senate narrowly defeats a provision to extend an important investment tax credit for renewable energy investments.

An economic stimulus plan passed the Senate on Thursday without extending an important tax credit for the solar and wind industries.

Renewable energy companies and advocates were bitterly disappointed late last year with the passage of the Energy Act, which did not extend an investment tax credit. It would have been funded by repealing an existing tax break to oil companies.

Right now, renewable energy projects receive a federal tax credit once they are completed, but that provision runs out at the end of 2008.

On Thursday, the Senate again left out the tax credit extension, which solar and wind business people say is important to the stability and growth of the renewable energy industry.

"It is crucial for Congress to return to work to pass an eight-year investment tax credit for America's solar energy industry. Investing in America's solar future costs little and will keep the power on in homes and businesses in all 50 states," Rhone Resche, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, said in a statement.

The SEIA said that it will pursue other opportunities to extend the tax credit this year.

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About the author

Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.

 

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