C&I, Solar

House-Senate Energy Bill: Differing Solar Provisions

The House and Senate have begun working to resolve the differences between their energy bills in hopes to create a final bill by the end before the August recess. Here’s a recap of the solar provisions in the two bills.

Senate bill – Increases the existing 10 percent tax credit for commercial solar installations to 30 percent for six years; no cap on amount of credit; applies to all property placed in service after December 31, 2005 and before January 1, 2012 Adopts a new four-year, 30 percent tax credit for residential solar installations; credit capped at $2000; applied to all property placed in service after December 31, 2005 and before January 1, 2010 These provisions are available to all solar technologies: solar thermal, PV, concentrating solar power, and solar hybrid lighting. House bill A much less generous provision – adopts a 15 percent residential tax credit for two years with only PV and solar water heating are eligible. On Thursday, the House named conferees and the conference committee immediately convened. Though in all, 52 House members were named to the conference, the primary members working on the tax title portion are Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-CA), Dave Camp (R-MI), and Ranking Member Charles Rangel (D-NY). Conferees from the House Energy and Commerce Committee included Rep. Charles Bass (R-NH), a strong advocate for the solar power industry. In opening statements Thursday, the conferees reiterated their commitment to complete the energy bill by the end of July. Also of note, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) voiced strong support for the solar tax credits, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We expect that the conferees will meet regularly and that staff will be working around the clock on resolving differences, such that a final version of the Energy Bill will be voted on before the August recess,” a SEIA statement said.