Tax credits for buying solar panels have been passed by the U.S. Congress as part of the Energy Bill of President George Bush.WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-08-03 [SolarAccess.com] Tax credits for buying solar panels have been passed by the U.S. Congress as part of the Energy Bill of President George Bush. The bill provides $33.5 billion in energy tax credits and incentives over ten years, of which 80 percent is designed to enhance energy production and the balance for conservation, energy efficiency and the environment. In addition to PV panels, the measures impact on hybrid gas-electric cars, and high-efficient appliances and homes The $6.7 billion for energy efficiency includes initiatives to improve renewable energy development and increase energy conservation efforts. It also includes research programs and tax incentives for clean-coal technologies to allow continued use of coal by power plants. The bill expands energy assistance programs to help low-income families pay for heating and cooling costs and weatherizing homes, and gives tax breaks to extend the operation of nuclear reactors. The controversial opening of the Alaska Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling was passed by Congress. The Bush administration says that development of 8 percent of the reserve to drilling could generate US$1.2 billion in bid bonuses and yield 16 billion barrels of oil. Interior secretary Gale Norton that revenues from the bid bonuses would be channeled into new renewable energy programs. Congress is controlled by Bush’s Republican party, but observers predict approval of oil drilling in the ANWR may prove more difficult to approve in the Democratic-controlled Senate before it can be signed into law.