Anyway, the scoop is that there is this Berkeley First solar program, where the city funds peoples’ solar projects by adding to their property tax over 20 years. Sounds awesome, but here’s the rub. The Federal Tax Credit for solar only works if the financing is “at risk.” Now, I’m no tax attorney and please, God, don’t ever act on any of my advice without consulting a tax-pro… but the Berkeley First program is not “at risk” financing. This would mean any benefit you’d get by using that program would probably be annihilated by the loss of the tax credit.
Entre-vous vote solar:
What does the financial crisis portend for the future of solar? Out of crisis comes opportunity: the new Obama Administration and 111th Congress understand that developing our clean energy sources equates to real economic growth. Leaders are pledging to fast-track renewable energy policies, and we are sharing our ideas about best options. We’ve sent them our holiday wish list–in the immediate term, an initiative to put solar on federal buildings; longer term, a national RPS and renewable transmission infrastructure for starters–and we are getting good reception.
We could use your help with one short-term priority. Cities nationwide are looking to adopt innovative new programs that help residents go solar without breaking the bank – and we need a tweak to the federal tax code to make it all work.
The City of Berkeley made history this year with a solar program that uses municipal bonds to allow residents to spread the cost of solar into an affordable payment on their property tax over 20 years rather than footing a hefty upfront bill. It’s an exciting new way for even the most budget-constrained local governments to make solar more affordable for property owners – and cities from coast to coast are moving to follow suit.
The main problem? Federal law, as currently written, is unclear as to whether participants in those municipal programs are prohibited from claiming the critical 30 percent solar tax credit we fought so hard to extend.
Details on the problem and legislative fix can be found here (pdf). It’s a quick and easy way for your elected officials to support solar energy and boost green job creation in one fell swoop.
Please click the button below to ask your Congressional representatives to make the tax code amenable to municipal property tax financing.
Happy holidays, and we wish you the very best in the new year.
Last modified: December 19, 2008