HG: SustainAbility Column November 01, 2008

When Congress passed the $700 billion financial bailout, officially called the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, extensions for federal solar energy tax credits were included. The tax credits were due to expire at the end of this year.

You may recall the importance of government tax credits to stabilizing the blossoming solar industry from previous columns about the American Physical Society’s energy efficiency report and Thomas Friedman’s book, “Hot, Flat, and Crowded.”

The solar energy credits were renewed for an eight-year period, and the $2,000 cap for residential solar systems was lifted. This could create jobs and attract billions in private investments in the solar industry.

The solar tax credit of 30 percent is applied to the cost of a residential system after any other rebates are subtracted. Homeowners may take up to five years to use the tax credit. A slightly different formula is used for businesses.

All of the local solar companies mentioned in this column are well versed in the details of the new tax incentives. You can also check out http://www.ases.org, the Web site for the American Solar Energy Society in Boulder.

Xcel recently made some changes to the Solar Rewards program. Go to
http://www.xcelenergy.com/Residential/RenewableEnergy/Solar_Rewards/Pages/home.aspx for details.

— Adele Israel


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