Solar Energy Initiative
- Tax Credits
The goal of the tax incentives is to encourage
market growth and improvement in solar technology by
increasing the demand and acceptance of the concept.
By Jeanette Joy Fisher
In February 2006, President Bush announced what's has
come to be called the Solar America Initiative (SAI),
designed to promote the widespread use of various solar
energy technologies in homes throughout the United States
It's yet to be determined what effect SAI will have on
America's sagging real estate market, and that may
actually be beside the point in the initial stages of the
program. The overall goal of the program is to expand
America's electricity options while reducing the country's
dependence on foreign oil, which will ultimately improve
the country's overall economy and environment.
The push to incorporate more solar technology into
American homes will be coming from many different
directions, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE),
which has been given a mandate to encourage more use of
solar heat and electricity in homes and businesses,
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently
released a document titled "A Guide to Federal Tax Credits
for Solar Energy," offering details about a number of
federal solar tax incentives that were enacted as part of
the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Included in those
incentives is a 30 percent tax credit (up to $2,000) for
the installation of qualifying photovoltaic or solar water
heating systems in the home.
The same legislation increased the solar tax credit to
businesses from 10 to 30 percent, with no cap on the
amount of credit that can be claimed, if the systems are
installed in 2006 or 2007.
The goal of the tax incentives is to encourage market
growth and improvement in solar technology by increasing
the demand and acceptance of the concept. As solar
technology becomes more ubiquitous, public acceptance
should become more mainstream, as well, and providing
attractive tax incentives for both homeowners and
businesses is a good place to start.
In the face of what looks to be a long-term energy crisis,
solar technology is beginning to make more and more sense
to the average person. The solar industry is working with
member of congress to try to extend the generous tax
credit beyond the 2007 date, in hopes of making an even
bigger impact on America's energy shortage. Extending the
incentives can go a long way toward establishing the U.S.
solar industry as a strong alternative to foreign oil.
As American solar technology improves, more and more
businesses and homes will begin to use the sun's energy to
provide all or part of their heat, hot water, electricity,
and cooling needs. In time, home buyers will undoubtedly
begin to insist upon having solar technology built into
their real estate packages, but for now, the Solar America
Initiative should be considered just the first step in
moving the United States toward energy independence and
greater economic stability.
In years to come, when solar technology has become so
commonplace that's it's hardly given a second thought,
it's very probable that solar advocates will look back at
SAI as the cornerstone that made it all possible.
Copyright © 2006 Jeanette J. Fisher
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