At the end of December 2015, the US Congress extended the Investment Tax and the Production Tax Credits for five additional years thereby continuing to provide tax incentives for solar and wind power. Industry representatives call this a “massive boost” to the development of these alternate sources of power.
In Massachusetts, the Baker Administration recently announced a $15 million initiative, using funds from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, to fund incentive programs for the installation of both solar and renewable thermal installments.
Meanwhile, two existing state solar energy programs, one providing financial incentives and the other on net metering allowing excess solar energy to be returned to the grid, have been exhausted. A bill to further cut net metering credits has been proposed in the Massachusetts House and the Legislature is about to propose an Omnibus Energy Bill that will presumably address the need for more comprehensive energy policies and more incentives.
Massachusetts has been in the forefront of alternative energy. Despite the conflict between government incentives and subsidies; and the utility industry’s objections, a path of consensus is likely to be formulated.
Susan Bernstein is an attorney at law, Needham, Mass.