Upgrading Our Renewable Energy Tax Credits

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) are calling for the Obama Administration and Congress to make the Renewable Energy Tax Credits (RECs) refundable in order to preserve their effectiveness in the current economic climate.

Currently, the RECs are non-refundable, meaning a person or business can reduce their tax liability to $0 – but not below. This is already a problem for people with lower incomes who want large systems but aren’t able to take full advantage of the tax credits. The new argument, according to SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch, is that the RECs must become refundable in order to maintain the growth of both industries since most companies and individual tax filers expect lower tax liabilities 2009. Lower tax liabilities decrease the need for tax reductions, so taxpayers would be likely to hold off on purchasing renewable energy systems until their tax burdens are higher once again. Leaving the RECs non-refundable could land a devastating blow to the solar and wind industries at a time when our nation requires job creation and energy independence to lead itself out of recession.

Seeing the RECs become refundable would protect us from disrupting emerging industries that have the potential to create millions of jobs while reducing our dependence on foreign and dirty energy. It would also confirm my belief that the U.S. is ready to take the lead in the worldwide battle against climate change. I hope the Obama Administration is listening and either adopts the proposed upgrade or comes up with a better alternative solution.