Federal energy ‘independence’ act threatens to chill solar industry


December 21, 2007 – Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

The tax subsidies for the solar industry are in danger of expiring. This could be a significant damper on the development of this industry. While I am rarely a proponent of government propping up an industry, I also do not think it is wise to abruptly halt a program which sends that group into a tailspin.

Regardless of your thoughts on global warming, I think we can all agree that we need to reduce our current consumption of energy from other nations, and solar is a possible way to help.

President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 on Dec. 19, establishing standards for higher fuel economy, renewable fuels, green building and energy efficiency that environmentalists have described as positive steps to stop the increase of carbon output in the U.S.

But the same act failed to address tax incentives that make alternative energies more economical, and failed to establish a minimum renewable energy component to U.S. utilities.

The tax credits for solar and wind energies are set to expire at the end of 2008….

“Without the [federal tax incentives], you would see a pretty massive slowdown in the progress of the growth of the industry,” says Mark McLanahan, vice president for solar project finance for MMA Renewable Ventures.

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