'Bailout Bill' continues crucial solar energy tax credits

There's not much good to be said from the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 signed by President Bush last week. Taxpayers never liked it, politicians may regret liking it come election day and, as it turns out, the market didn't like it much either.

But stuck in that ginormous bill was something that is absolutely necessary if the nation is to embrace "green" technologies: a provision extending the federal solar energy tax credits.

These tax credits have been around since 2005, but were set to expire this year, which could have been the death knell to the solar industry. Instead, Congress extended the tax credits for eight years, giving solar panel manufacturers and installers some stability to continue their businesses, and the incentive for other entrepreneurs to follow suit. And that means more options and lower prices to homeowners eager to cut their electric bill and impact to the environment.

The tax credits can give residential or commercial property owners up to 30 percent back on their solar investment. Locally, committed environmentalists have paired the federal credit with the state of Florida's credits to greatly reduce the cost of solar panels. Read about some of those green-minded folks here.

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