Congress lets important solar incentive expire
Businesses hoping to invest in solar power systems suffered a substantial blow as 2011 ended, as Congress allowed one of the most powerful solar incentives in the country to expire, according to PV Magazine.
The 1603 grant came as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the massive stimulus bill approved in the early days of Barack Obama's presidency.
The act offers a sizable federal tax rebate worth 30 percent of a solar installation's cost, but the 1603 grants allow businesses to receive up-front cash instead. This can make it substantially easier to acquire the necessary funding for the larger-scale solar installations used by businesses.
The program had numerous proponents, and a report sponsored by the Solar Energy Industries Association suggested that a one-year extension could lead to as many as 37,394 additional jobs and add another 2 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity.
"Extension of this program will create jobs, spur economic growth and promote private sector development of energy technologies," a letter from 764 proponents of the program insisted.
Nevertheless, PV Magazine suggests that it seems increasingly unlikely that the program will see new life.