Senate fails to extend solar tax credits for the eight time

The US Senate has yet again failed to pass legislation that would extend the Investment Tax Credits beyond their end of year expiration dates. The Senate was unable to reach a bipartisan compromise to extend solar tax credits for the eighth time since June last year.

Many solar projects across the country are on hold until this leglislation is sorted out. Large scale solar power projects could be nearly non-existent in the short-term in the US without the 30 percent tax credit.

According to local media, an eight-year extension is being pushed for, but it is possible a one-year extension may be pushed through as a compromise. The Republicans are blocking the legislation because they claim it raises taxes.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in Washington is asking that Congress extend the 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit eight years for commercial and six years for residential solar projects.

SEIA  president Rhonse Resch warned that a failure to extend the tax credit could damage the domestic solar industry.

"Time is running out to extend the solar tax credits. Already companies are putting projects on hold and preparing to send thousands of jobs overseas - real jobs that would otherwise be filled by American workers. Failure to extend the solar tax credits is a severe blow to an industry that has proven to be an economic engine for the US at a time when we need it most," said Resch.

"The critique," SEIA spokeswoman Monique Hanis told, "is, 'Why not have [a tax credit] at the federal level that would benefit all of the states and all of the citizens and companies operating here?'"

A federal programme, the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Solar America Initiative, seeks to achieve cost-competitiveness for solar technologies across all market sectors by 2015.