Cantwell's Efforts to Secure Long-Term Extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit

·        May 2007: Cantwell introduces comprehensive legislation to catalyze the development and deployment of new energy technologies through a series of long-term extensions and improvements to existing clean energy tax incentives, including an 8-year extension of the solar energy investment tax credit.  The bill was also designed to help level the playing field between clean energy technologies and fossil fuels. 


·        June 2007:  U.S. Finance Committee passes a renewable energy tax incentives package which contained significant portions of Senator Cantwell’s May 2007 legislation.  The committee added these provisions to a comprehensive energy tax bill. 


·        December 2007:  Senate passes and President Bush signs in to law the energy bill.  However, the final bill did not include Cantwell’s renewable energy tax incentives package, because President Bush threatened to veto the entire bill if those provisions were included.


·        January 2008:  On the Senate floor, Cantwell urges her colleagues to address the need for investments in new energy sources which can create jobs, save people and businesses money, and over time reduce energy costs, along with the economic stimulus package being considered by Congress. 


·        January 2008: Cantwell spearheads efforts to include the energy tax incentives in an economic stimulus package.  The Finance Committee included Cantwell’s amendment to provide for a one-year extension of expiring clean energy and energy efficiency tax credits. 


·        February 2008:  Senate passes stimulus package, which excluded Cantwell’s extension of expiring clean energy and energy efficient tax credits.


·        April 2008: Cantwell introduces The Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008 with Senator John Ensign (R-NV).  The Act provided the continuation of clean energy production incentives and incentives to improve energy efficiency that will create jobs, save people and businesses money, and over time reduce energy costs. 


·        April 2008:  Senate passes an amendment by Cantwell and Ensign to the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, but it was stripped out in the during the conference process.


  • September 2008: Cantwell spearheads negotiations that led to breaking the logjam between Democrats and Republicans to pass bipartisan clean energy tax policies that will provide predictability, and spark investment, for U.S. clean energy industries.  Her bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 93-2.






  • October 2008:  President Bush signs clean energy tax package that:
    • Extends the production credit for electricity produced from renewables;
    • Extends the investment tax credit for solar for eight years, providing the solar industry the market certainty they need to create 440,000 jobs nationally by 2016; and,
    • Extends and expands the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) program that enables public power and consumer-owned utilities that cannot benefit from federal tax credits reduce their renewable energy investment costs. 

o        Helps homeowners generate their own electricity and hot water by providing a 30 percent tax credit towards the installation of solar electric or hot water systems, and expands the credit to cover residential wind generators and geothermal heat pumps.  Homeowners installing these technologies can reduce a household’s water heating costs by 50 percent and save Americans $350 a year in energy costs.

o        Consumers can also save up to $500 on their taxes if they install energy efficient products in their homes which can translate to big energy savings.  For example, installing energy efficient windows that can save an average homeowner $125 to $450 each year and high efficiency heating and cooling equipment can save up to $170 per year, knocking off nearly 10 percent off an average homeowner’s annual energy bill.

o        Provides new car buyers up to $7,500 to buy plug-in electric cars, trucks or SUVs – vehicles that will start appearing in showroom in 2010 and will likely achieve over 100 miles per gallon.  According to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, our current electricity infrastructure could support an estimated 70 percent of America’s passenger vehicle fleet, which would displace 6.5 million barrels of oil each day, an amount equivalent to 50 percent of our oil imports, and cut greenhouse gases by an estimated 20 percent.  And in Washington state, the cost of powering plug-in vehicles would be the equivalent of 70 cents per gallon.  This provision is derived from a bipartisan bill authored by Senators Cantwell, Hatch, and Obama last year. 

o        For the first time, energy-efficient biomass fuel stoves, including wood pellets stoves, are eligible for a consumer tax credit of $300.  These stoves can provide an alternative way for homeowners to use renewable resources to heat their homes.  Sixty percent of wood pellet stoves on the market are manufactured in Washington state.




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