The first days of October were sunny days for the renewables in the United States. First the Senate and two days later the House of Representatives passed the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 which extends the 30 % investment tax credits (ITC) for solar thermal systems as well as photovoltaics through 2016. This Act enables residents and businesses that install or build a solar thermal system, a photovoltaics installation or a wind turbine to substract 30 % of the investment amount from the personal or business income tax returns, an incentive which was due to expire at the end of the year. According to the general understanding, the cap for commercial solar thermal applications of US$ 2,000 is removed, whereas the cap for residential systems will stay in place.
“It has been a long time coming, but we have finally achieved victory on the ITC," said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) to the U.S. American Solar Industry Magazine. "It took seven votes in the House and 10 votes in the Senate, but in the end, Congress came through."
The pressure from the renewable energy sector in the States was very high. The management consultancy Navigant Consulting Inc found that more than 116,000 jobs, including 39,400 jobs in the solar industry, could be lost in 2009 if the renewable energy tax credits would not have been extended. Also investments of nearly US$ 19 billion for solar and wind would have been lost.
Summary of the Energy Improvement and Extension Act: www.finance.senate.gov/sitepages/leg/LEG%202008/091708%20Staff%20Summary...