Bailout package offers incentives for going green

Understanding the complexities of the recently passed $700 billion bailout package is sure to have even the most financially savvy citizens scratching their noggins. What does this mean for my mortgage? Will my taxes go up or down? Will I be able to keep my home? Can I still afford to take a luxury vacay this spring?

Unfortunately, being just a bunch of eco-conscious environmental reporters, we don’t have those answers for you (try asking those schmucks on Wall Street). But we do have some information on how the bailout benefits green consumers (and we’re hoping that means you!).

While the package is intended to help out average, working class citizens, it also contains a boatload of goodies for the alternative energy sector. The bill features incentives for renewable energy development, specifically for consumers and businesses who would seek out such products. Take a look at a summary of some of the more eco-minded offerings from an Environmental News Network (ENN) story:

•The 30% solar investment tax credit has been extended to 2016, giving solar startups, utilities and financiers a major boost for bringing large-scale power plants and other projects online.


•The $2,000 tax credit limit for residential solar systems has been lifted, meaning that homeowners can get a 30% tax credit on the solar panels they install after Dec. 31, 2008. That will save folks who want to install a system serious money—especially for those who live in states with generous state rebates. (If you buy a $24,000 3-kilowatt solar array in California—big enough to power the average home—you can claim a $7,200 federal tax credit. Add in the state solar rebate and the cost of the system is cut in half.)


•The bill also includes tax credits of $3,000 or more toward the purchase of fuel-efficient, plug-in hybrid vehicles.


•There are also incentives for the production of homegrown renewable fuels, such as biodiesel and renewable diesel, and for the installation of E-85 pumps for consumers to fill up flex-fuel vehicles.

The bill also provided breaks for people installing wind turbines on their property, though they were not as significant as the benefits offered with solar power.

Whether or not the bill will spur more investment in and development of renewable energies remains to be seen, but some are predicting a solar explosion as a result of the bailout package.

We may know nothin’ bout mortgages, but the green elements to the bailout package sure do make our eco-conscious hearts skip a beat.


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Don't forget, the bailout also included a tax credit, $20 a month, for people that ride bikes to work. Go ask your employer for it!

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