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January 2011


Wind, solar power industries praise extension of the investment tax credit

Just before taking a break for the holidays, the U.S. House approved final passage of a tax bill that included a one-year extension of the investment tax credit for developing renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. Republicans and Democrats came together to pass the bill without any amendments.

Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, thanked lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for extending the investment tax credit, which dates to 1992.

"This is a great holiday present for the 85,000 American workers in the wind energy industry, tens of thousands of whom will now be able to get back to work in a sector that has been a bright spot in the recession so far," Bode said. "Orders will be on the rise for new wind power, and investors will put more capital into the U.S. economy because of what happened in Congress.

"We're already making 20 percent of the electricity in Iowa, and have made as much as 25 percent of the electricity in Texas," she said. "We hold the lead in building and expanding our U.S. manufacturing base than most other industries. With the industry expansion this extension will incentivize, we're going to be making a whole lot more affordable, homegrown electric power in the years to come."

Bode said she is looking forward to working with incoming Speaker John Boehner, a proponent of developing more domestic energy sources, and the rest of the new majority in the House. "The inclusion of renewable energy in the tax bill is a clear indication of strong bipartisan support for the wind industry, which will make more renewable energy than any other technology for decades," she said.

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President and CEO Rhone Resch noted that it took a year of "tireless effort" from the entire solar industry and the industry's champions in Congress to get an extension of the 1603 program.  "President Obama and our bipartisan champions in the Senate and House recognize that the solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in our country, and this extension will create tens of thousands of new jobs for Americans," Resch added.

"This is a great day for America's solar industry. With an extension of the 1603 program now in place, the solar industry can continue its record growth, creating new career opportunities for Americans in all 50 states in 2011."

The program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Section 1603) to provide commercial solar and wind power installations with a cash grant in lieu of the 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC). President George W. Bush signed the 8-year ITC into law in 2008, but the economic conditions created by the global recession made it clear that few would be able to utilize the tax credit.