Renewable Energy Tax Credit News Briefs - April 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Reps. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., introduced legislation Feb. 15 that would extend commercial and residential installation tax credits for small wind and other renewable technology through 2021. Those “orphan” technologies were left out of the extensions included in the PATH Act of 2015 and expired at the end of 2016. HR 1090 would provide a retroactive credit of 30 percent that would phase out through the end of 2021. The legislation had 35 cosponsors at press time–22 Republicans and 13 Democrats.

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A bill to create a state renewable energy tax credit in Maryland was introduced Feb. 3 by a group of five Democrat state senators. Maryland SB 926 would create a 50 percent credit for brownfield sites and low-income communities and a 35 percent credit elsewhere. The legislation calls for a $5 million cap for business use and a $10,500 cap for residential use, beginning in 2018 and running through the end of 2022. The aggregate cap for the credit would be $125 million for business use and $25 million for residential use. The bill is posted at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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On Feb. 9, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) announced the start of the Midwest State Committee, which will focus on all solar market segments in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. SEIA established the committee in an effort to expand its education and advocacy efforts in the region. The committee will be open to certain levels of membership within SEIA. Greentech Media (GTM) research indicates that the aforementioned states will install more than 1 gigawatt of capacity by 2021, up from 73 megawatts in 2015.

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The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Feb. 9 released its Fourth Quarter 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Market Report, which states that American wind power achieved its second-strongest quarter for newly installed energy generating capacity. Results indicated that wind power surpassed hydropower dams to become the largest source of renewable electric capacity in the United States and the fourth largest overall. New growth in the fourth quarter included 6,478 megawatts (MWs), which AWEA says is the second-strongest quarter for U.S. wind power installations on record. Wind developers added 82,183 MWs of wind power capacity in 2016. In addition, of the $13.8 billion invested by the U.S. wind industry last year, $10.5 billion was invested in low-income counties. 

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On Feb. 14, SEIA and Greentech Media (GTM) Research released a preview of its U.S. Solar Market Insight report. SEIA and GTM Research found that 2016 was the biggest year for the United States solar industry, which nearly doubled its annual record. Numbers topped out at 14,626 MWs of solar photovoltaic (PV) installed in 2016, which represents a 95 percent increase over 2015’s record-breaking 7,493 MWs. In addition, the preview showed that the nonresidential market also exceeded expectations with community solar, adding a record total of more than 200 MWs, and rate design and net energy metering, which sparked a rush in project development and installation growth across a number of major state markets. Because of the results of 2016, SEIA stated that the United States is now home to more than 1.3 million solar PV installations with a cumulative capacity of more than 40 gigawatts. At press time, SEIA had not released release the complete U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year in Review. 

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