Bennet Introduces Amendment to Increase Solar Energy Development

Amendment Mirrors Bipartisan Bill to Extend Tax Incentives to Solar Projects Under Construction

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today introduced an amendment to the bipartisan tax extenders bill to allow more solar companies to benefit from the tax advantages of investing in solar projects.

The amendment, which mirrored the bipartisan bill Bennet introduced with Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) in February, would allow firms to qualify for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar projects that are under construction before the credit’s expiration date, rather than having to wait until those projects are completed and in service.

“If we are going to remain competitive in the 21st century economy, we need a tax code that encourages innovation and helps companies that are creating jobs and growing our economy,” Bennet said. “This amendment strengthens our diverse energy portfolio and supports tens of thousands of Colorado jobs. As Congress considers changes to align our tax code with the needs of today’s economy, we should extend these credits and provide parity to solar companies to compete within our innovative and diverse energy industry.”

Currently, in order for a project to qualify for the ITC, it must be “placed in service” by December 31, 2016, meaning it must be complete and capable of generating power. This amendment would replace this requirement to allow projects legitimately under construction to be eligible for the credit, similar to a change made to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) in 2012. This is especially helpful for large-scale projects that could take several years to develop, permit, finance, and build. The amendment is cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown, Bob Menendez, Tom Carper, Debbie Stabenow, and Ben Cardin.

Bennet also introduced an amendment to put liquefied natural gas (LNG) on equal footing with diesel fuel under the federal highway excise tax. The amendment, based on his bipartisan bill he introduced with Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), would allow LNG to compete fairly with diesel by taxing LNG on energy output rather than per gallon.

Another amendment Bennet filed would reform outdated tax provisions that hinder ditch and irrigation companies’ ability to raise capital and invest in infrastructure.

The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider the tax extenders bill tomorrow.