Solar Tax Credits

My colleague Michael Coleman had an excellent piece in this morning’s paper laying out the stakes and contending factions in the fight over solar tax credits:

Senate Republicans and Democrats, almost all of whom say they support extending the solar tax credit, haven’t been able to agree on how to pay for it.

Most Democrats, including Bingaman, contend that Congress should rescind $18 billion in annual federal subsidies given to the biggest oil and gas companies since 2006 and redirect them to the solar industry.

“This is not a tax benefit they had before— they were doing fine before and they are doing fine now,” Bingaman said, referring to record profit margins that oil and gas companies have posted in recent years. “I don’t think this is a major setback for oil and gas companies given the profits they have had.”

The U.S. House approved the tax shift in February.

But Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee, said he won’t support it.

Domenici, who is retiring from Congress after his term ends in January, said the solar tax credit extension doesn’t need to be paid for.

“We know it will work and will yield benefits to the American economy, so I would vote for it without the offsets,” Domenici said, referring to proposals to “offset” the breaks given to solar companies by eliminating some tax breaks for oil companies.

“I think they’re so important they should be adopted without offsets,” Domenici said.

(image courtesy National Solar Observatory)

One Comment

  1. John,
    I am cynical of politics as impulse and emotion. On this solar tax credits issue, is there a well done article showing the benefits and costs. For instance, for a dollar of tax credits, how much do I get back in savings. Or, if we give up on coal and oil and let the rest of the world use it, are we doing the same thing as letting the rest of the world develop stem cells so that our own pharmaceutical companies are at a disadvantage.

    Coherent analysis would be a big help here.


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