Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today welcomed the support of 28 senators who voiced support for a bipartisan bill he introduced last month with Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) to help more solar companies benefit from the tax advantages of investing in solar projects.
The lawmakers yesterday sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden backing the inclusion of the Bennet-Heller bill in any tax extenders legislation the Senate considers this year.
“We have a real opportunity right now to build a thriving and diverse energy industry in Colorado and around the country,” Bennet said. “It is encouraging to see over two dozen of our colleagues speak up for this bipartisan bill – legislation that will provide parity for a solar industry that supports thousands of Colorado jobs. Senator Heller and I will continue to work with our colleagues and the Finance Committee to move this proposal forward.”
The bipartisan bill 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. 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. The Bennet-Heller bill would replace this requirement to allow projects meaningfully 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.
Bennet has been a vocal supporter of investing in alternative energy sources. He led the fight in the Senate to extend the wind production tax credit, which helps support thousands of Colorado jobs, including the addition of 850 new jobs just announced yesterday by Vestas Wind Systems. Bennet has also led bipartisan efforts to promote energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings. The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014, introduced last month by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), includes two bipartisan bills Bennet introduced last year – the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy (SAVE) Act and the Better Buildings Act.