Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - October 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

On Aug. 23, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney released an energy policy white paper entitled, “The Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class: Energy Independence.” Some of the policy’s main goals are to promote private-sector-led development of new energy technology, to pursue an energy partnership with Canada and Mexico and to recommit federal support for clean energy. The Democratic Party likewise debuted its “All-of-the-Above Energy Policy” on Sept. 5 at the Democratic National Convention. The policy’s stated goals include promoting the development of America’s clean energy sources, creating domestic clean energy jobs and protecting the environment from overexploration.

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A recent study by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) reports a significant job creation slowdown in the wind energy sector, which appears significantly affected by the uncertainty regarding the future of the federal production tax credit (PTC). According to E2, if Congress allows the policy to expire on Dec. 31, as many as 37,000 wind energy jobs will be at risk. Additionally, the 12 wind projects announced this quarter are expected to create only 2,300 jobs compared to the 31 projects and 9,100 jobs created in the first quarter of this year. Also included in the E2 report were the top 10 states for clean energy jobs in the second quarter. California takes the top spot with 16 projects announced and 20,879 potential jobs. Florida and New York took second and third place, respectively. To read the complete report, go to www.e2.org.

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In its 2012 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) announced that the 4,995 clean energy firms in Massachusetts currently employ 71,523 clean energy workers or 1.7 percent of the state’s workforce. This represents an 11.2 percent increase in clean energy jobs from 2011, a job growth rate nearly 10 times faster than any other industry in the state. Massachusetts also ranks first in the nation when it comes to private clean energy investment per capita, and its sustainable energy companies have received 17 percent or $62.8 million of federal funding granted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. Download a copy of the report at www.masscec.com.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a package of bills designed to promote the growth of solar energy projects in the state, which ranks sixth in the nation for the number of photovoltaic solar installations. Assembly Bill 10620 provides for the tax abatement for solar generating systems in cities with populations of one million or more. Assembly Bill 00034B provides tax credit for the lease of solar energy equipment and for the purchase of power generated by the equipment. Assembly Bill 05522B provides an exemption from sales and compensating use taxes for the sale and installation of commercial solar energy systems equipment. It also gives municipalities the option to exempt them from local sales and use taxes. Download copies of the bills at www.assembly.state.ny.us.

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SolarVision LLC put an $18 million new market tax credit (NMTC) allocation toward a 5-megawatt utility-scale solar power system in Celina, Ohio. Connected to the electric company in Celina, the power system will help fulfill about 8 percent of the city’s annual energy requirements. Partners of the deal included New Energy Capital Cleantech Infrastructure Fund, Q. CELLS North America, Finance Fund and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

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SolarCity opened two new operation centers in Arizona. The center in Prescott Valley will service residential and commercial solar customers while a second office in Phoenix will service business and nonprofit customers, as well as large-scale homebuilder partners. Solar energy production in Arizona has increased 333 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Q1 2012 by Green Tech Media Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. It ranks third in the nation for states with the highest number of photovoltaic installations.

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