Governator backs tax credit extension

C&I Issue 20, 2008

On the opening day in San Diego California’s governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, welcomed the recent eight-year extension of solar investment tax credits (ITC) as ‘about time’ after the ninth attempt to pass them succeeded. He pointed out that it had taken a financial emergency to achieve it, referring to the recent Congressional agreement to the economic bail-out that will inject over $780bn into the US financial sector. ‘The economy is facing tough times, which is why we must focus on solar energy,’ he said.


The ITC extension was passed as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act 2008, and also removes a prohibition that previously prevented electric utilities from taking advantage of the credit, and eliminates a $2000 cap for residential solar electric installations.


Schwarzenegger restated his support for the development of solar energy and criticised the Bush administration for its lack of initiative. ‘The Federal government has been asleep at the wheel,’ he told delegates.


Schwarzenegger said California is a leader in clean energy in the US with projects ranging from solar energy to the ‘Hydrogen Highway’, emphasising that the state holds 40% of all US patents covering solar energy. He added that if the rest of the US followed California’s lead regarding green energy, some 2m new jobs would be created. ‘What’s green for the environment is green for the economy,’ he said.


Commenting earlier on the ITC extension, Rhone Resch, president of the US Solar Energy Industries Association, said: ‘This bill is a major step in our long journey towards energy independence and ensures that solar energy will be a significant part of America’s energy future. This long-term extension of the solar tax credits will create a domestic solar industry with hundreds of thousands of jobs, while providing clean, affordable, carbon-free energy to millions of American families, businesses and communities.’

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