24 September 2008 -- The Senate passed a tax package that renews renewable energy tax credits for companies and individuals.
Breaking a months-long political deadlock, the renewable energy bill passed the Senate by a vote of 93-2. The House is expected to take up the tax package shortly.
Among other things, the Senate bill would extend for one or two years and expand production tax credits for wind, refined coal, biomass and marine renewables.
The investment tax credit for solar energy and the credit for residential solar development would both be extended through 2016 and new tax credits for advanced coal electricity and coal gasification projects would also be provided.
The bill would extend credits to investors in solar energy for eight more years and wind energy for one year.
The Senate bill also establishes a new credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles.
A statement from the American Wind Energy Association said that America's wind energy industry applauds the move.
"Clean energy tax incentives are a vital part of the solution to our nation's economic, energy security, and environmental challenges," said Gregory Whetstone senior director of governmental and public affairs for the AWEA.
Solar Energy Industries Association president Rhone Resch said the amendment to H.R. 6049, the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, will extend federal solar tax credits by 8 years.
"I applaud the Senate for reaching a bipartisan consensus to extend the solar tax credits, which are critical to the growth of the solar market in the U.S," Resch said. "Extension of the solar investment tax credit has been more than two years in the making and is a major victory for the solar industry and for consumers facing higher energy prices in the U.S."
The SEIA estimated that ending the solar and wind tax credits would result in $19 billion worth of lost investments and reduce employment in solar and wind by 119,000.