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Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - August 2012

SolarCity and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation announced the creation of their sixth and largest renewable energy tax credit fund. The fund will finance as much as $250 million in solar energy projects. The companies provide upfront financing to commercial, residential and municipal customers for the solar panels and system installation; customers pay for the electricity at a discount to their utility rates. SolarCity manages the entire process from permitting and local installation to ongoing monitoring and repairs, if necessary.

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Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., announced that he intends to address the Senate each morning that the body convenes with a speech urging his colleagues to review and pass the wind energy production tax credit (PTC). He will discuss the need for the PTC, how the credit affects each state and the implications of failing to extend the tax credit. Members of the House of Representatives are also calling for the credit’s extension. Eighteen freshman senators signed on to a letter to House leaders asking them to take up extension legislation as soon as possible. According to the letter, if the PTC is allowed to expire before comprehensive tax reform takes place, the wind industry will have already lost half its workforce, manufacturing infrastructure and investor confidence. View a copy of the letter at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed legislation to add thermal renewable energy to the state’s renewable energy portfolio. With the enactment of S.B. 218, New Hampshire became the first state to fully incorporate renewable thermal energy into its renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The RPS grants incentives to renewable energy developments through 2025. Renewable energy certificates will be worth as much as $29 per megawatt-hour of usable thermal energy produced by qualified thermal projects. Examples of qualifying thermal energy projects are wood pellet boilers, solar hot water arrays, or geothermal heating and cooling systems on residential, commercial or industrial buildings. The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission will develop administrative rules to implement the new provision; thermal projects will not qualify for the new incentives until January 1, 2013.

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The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) launched a new website and Twitter feed to address what it describes as an imbalance in the renewable energy debate. The resources, www.energyfactcheck.org and @EnergyFactCheck, are designed for reporters, policymakers and members of the public. ACORE says the resources represent a centralized platform for data on every renewable energy industry, as well as fact-based answers to major controversies.

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Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services published a report that examines factors influencing the market for renewable energy projects, which tax incentives help finance those projects and what the expiration of these incentives might mean for the nation’s utility sector. The report, called “The Credit Impact on U.S. Electric Utilities of Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credits,” says that the November elections cast doubt on the renewal of some expiring incentives and on the extent of future regulation. The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal.

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California became the first state to install more than 1 gigawatt of customer-generated solar energy in 2011, according to a report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The California Solar Initiative (CSI) Annual Program Assessment also found that costs for residential solar systems have decreased by 28 percent since 2007, and that CSI projects in low-income markets have increased by 364 percent during the same period. The Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) program completed 181 projects as of April 30, with a capacity of 9.1 megawatts. A copy of the assessment is available at the California Public Utilities Commission.

Journal Category:

Renewable Energy Tax Credits

Authors:

Novogradac

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