9 January 2009 — The most important thing the next administration and Congress can do to achieve President Barack Obama’s vision for renewable energy is to make renewable tax incentives refundable, according to the leaders of America’s solar and wind energy trade associations.
At a joint news conference held in January the day after then President-elect Obama announced his goal of doubling renewable energy in three years, Denise Bode, American Wind Energy Association CEO, and Rhone Resch, Solar Energy Industries Association president, called on Congress to use the existing structure of the tax code and refine the investment tax credit (ITC) and production tax credit (PTC) to make them refundable.
“The structure of the ITC and PTC doesn’t work anymore,” said Resch, “and it’s unreasonable to assume they will,” because the tax equity market has shrunk.
The economic downturn has slowed momentum for the solar and wind industries that have experienced record-breaking growth in the last few years. Bode said layoffs and cutbacks have been announced in the wind industry and a 50 percent reduction in growth could be seen in 2009.
“The problem is the PTC,” she said. “We are jointly calling on Congress to include refundability in the stimulus package so we can move to the new, clean economy.”