June 30, 2008

Tax Credit Tango

Bill Georgevich

Hear the 1 minute show:

The senate last week blocked a vote on the extension of renewable energy tax credits, which expire December 31. These tax incentives make it possible for thousands of homeowners to install solar panels & has inspired big investment in dozens of clean energy power plants. But if Congress fails to extend the credits, most of theses renewable power projects are in danger of being abandoned.

When I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico 30 years ago, new home construction was all on fire about passive solar heating, solar waters heaters, & “living off the grid” with batteries & Photovoltaic solar electric panels -- all in response to the first “energy crisis”.

Everywhere there were tromb wall homes that cooled homes during the day & warmed them with stored heat at night. Every house had a solar water heater. My house had a solar water heater with a 90 gallon tank. I had so much hot water from the sun, that even if the daytime temperature was below freezing, I could take a hot bath in my enormous soaking tub. All this was possible because of the federal tax credits that gave home builders the incentive to build renewable.

Now speculators have driven up oil prices to frightening levels again in 2008 & despite broad bipartisan support for renewable energy tax credits, Democrats and Republicans are arguing about how to finance them. There are currently 22 major solar power plants in various stages of planning around the country, but all have been implemented on the assumption Congress would extend the renewable energy tax incentives.

The discontinuation of these tax credits will "result in the loss of billions of dollars in new investments in solar," says Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association. How can it be that we can’t even keep the old programs that promote renewable energy when we should be implementing additional new ones? If you as outraged as we are, here is what you can do:

Learn about the Energy Independence and Tax Relief Act of 2008, Senate bill #S.3125.

ell others about it and to take action by calling or emailing your Congressional Representative. Ask them to extend the renewable energy tax credit. You can find your Congressperson's contact information here. You can also reach the office of your Representative and Senator through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-225-3121.