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Proposed Amendment Would Extend 1603 Treasury Program, Encourage More Solar

Posted on Thursday, March 8th, 2012 at 11:47 am by Solar Energy USA

SEIA_LogoIn February we reported that the solar-friendly 1603 Treasury Program could have a second life thanks to a proposed Federal budget. The 1603 Program allows businesses that make solar energy purchases to take a 30% cash grant in lieu of a 30% tax credit that is currently available as an incentive to encourage solar installations. Originally enacted in 2009, the 1603 Program helped to develop more than $24 billion worth of renewable energy resources according to a recent statement from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Within the next few days, the U.S. Senate will vote on extending a number of critical solar and renewable energy programs as part of the highway bill (S. 1813). Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has offered an amendment which would extend the 1603 Treasury Program, as well as a number of additional clean energy programs. Other tax provisions support a range of clean energy projects including biofuels, wind, and energy efficiency.

Please take a moment to contact your Senators today and urge them to vote YES on the amendment offered by Sen. Stabenow to extend the 1603 Treasury Program.

Experts say renewing the solar grant program in 2012 could lead to the creation of 37,000 more solar jobs.

The 1603 Treasury Program encourages large-scale solar installations which has trickle-down economies of scale effects including reduced costs for manufacturing, purchasing, and installing solar panels in addition to creating demand for more solar energy which translates to solar jobs creation.

The U.S. solar market installed 449 MW of generating capacity in the third quarter of 2011 alone, more than the capacity installed in all of 2009.  Cumulative solar electric capacity in the U.S. is now more than 3,650 MW, enough to power more than 730,000 homes. Since the beginning of 2010, the price of solar panels fell by 40%.  Solar is a diverse technology, and costs will continue to drop as the industry achieves greater efficiencies and economies of scale.