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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Incentives Watch: Solar Energy Receives Voter Support in the United States

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It appears to be solar energy’s time to shine. Further solar energy development is supported by 92 percent of U.S. voters, according to a CleanEnergyAuthority.com article. The poll was conducted by Hart Research for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Despite the SEIA poll’s results, a different poll coming up November 6th will determine which renewable energy policy is to be in effect for the next four years at the national level. Republican candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have differing viewpoints on incentives for solar and other alternative energies, according to an MIT Technology Review article. Republicans feel that taxpayers shouldn’t be “subsidizing” alternative energy with tax credits, whereas most Democrats feel that taxpayers should be supporting the use of renewable energy to help the U.S. stay competitive abroad.

It’s interesting that on the state level, however, solar energy incentives are being offered in blue states, such as California, as well as red states, such as Indiana and Iowa. In fact, solar energy is increasingly expanding to different types of projects, such as the use of solar arrays at the film studios where the Avatar sequels are being made, the CleanEnergyAuthority.com article points out.

In California, the State Board of Equalization issued final draft guidelines explaining the “new construction” property tax exclusion for active solar energy systems, reports a Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Report article. The guidelines note that certain types of construction activity are excluded from property tax assessment as “new construction.” The new construction exclusion exempts 100 percent of an active solar energy system's value from property tax assessment.

Iowa recently adopted regulations implementing its new solar energy system tax credit for individual and corporate taxpayers, notes a Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Report article.

And Indiana recently issued a revenue ruling stating that a taxpayer is entitled to a sales and use tax exemption for the foundations, posts, racks, modules, and inverters purchased for its electricity-generating solar energy plant, reports another Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Report article.

Forty six states offer some type of solar energy incentive, according to Bloomberg BNA’s Green Incentives Navigator.


In other developments . . .

The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) amended regulations for the new markets capital investment program tax credit, allowing taxpayers to invest up to $40 million in qualified active low-income community businesses in economically distressed areas if they create or retain more than 200 jobs in manufacturing or value-added production enterprises with the investment, according to a Bloomberg BNA Weekly State Tax Report article.

 

By:  Kathleen Caggiano

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