Saturday, December 20, 2008

Action Alert

I have been getting many employment inquiries for my firm and have been filing many applications. To date, I have received over 1,200 such emails this year alone. But the current state of the economy and demand in the industry doesn't allow for this level of employment for my firm and many others. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority state their strong motivation & desire to join the industry to make much needed societal changes.

So, I pose the following:

Question: Why not put a ready, willing group of motivated people to work?

Answer: I can hire many of them.

Here is how you can help me do so:


Please email the following to your Congressional Representative & Senator.

I'm writing to ask you to make two changes in the tax code to help smooth the road for municipal efforts to finance solar and energy efficiency projects.

The upfront cost of solar is one of the biggest barrier to widespread adoption. Cities across the country are looking into innovative finance programs that fundamentally change the cost equation by allowing property owners to spread solar energy systems and other clean energy purchases upfront price over an affordable 20-year property tax assessment. Known as "municipal tax assessment financing," these programs (now up and running in places like Boulder, Colorado and Berkeley, California, and being evaluated by others from coast to coast) use bonds rather than budgetary spending as a financing source. It's an exciting new way for even the most budget-constrained local governments to make solar and energy efficiency more affordable for property owners.

In order to make this model work, we need some tweaks to the federal tax code. Specifically, Congress should:

1. Clarify that participating in preferred, below-market renewable energy financing does not exclude access to the full federal solar tax credit. The federal government now provides a 30% investment tax credit for the installation of solar systems. Property owners may lose that tax credit if they participate in a local or state government tax-financing program if the IRS determines that they are receiving "subsidized energy financing." Legislation can clarify that this type of renewable and energy efficiency financing program does not prohibit participants from claiming the tax credit. This is the single most important issue to resolve.

2. Allow municipalities to use federally tax-exempt bonds to finance renewable energy projects. Generally speaking, the revenue bonds supporting these new finance programs cannot take advantage of the federal tax exemption normally available to local government because the solar and energy efficiency projects financed by bonds are not considered a governmental purpose. This makes the program much less cost-effective for property owners. Given the requirement that we quickly address economic development, energy security and climate change, Congress can amend the code to recognize that such renewable energy and energy efficiency bonds are issued for a governmental purpose.

In these tight fiscal times, this is an easy way for the federal government to help cities in their efforts to jumpstart the renewable energy economy. As my representative, I respectfully request your assistance.

Many thanks for your leadership on this matter.

Yours truly,

Your Name

No comments: