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Solar tax credit expansion passes Senate committee

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm •  Published: March 13, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Solar energy would get a big boost in Iowa if a bill passed Thursday in a Senate committee becomes law.

The bill, approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, would increase the annual cap for solar tax credits to $4.5 million from the current $1.5 million. It also would allow individual homeowners to get up to $5,000 in credits, up from the existing $3,000 cap, and businesses to qualify for $20,000 in credits, up from $15,000.

The bill would cover increases retroactively to Jan. 1.

"This has been a very successful credit," said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, an Iowa City Democrat. "We have in the last year 93 businesses, including many farms actually, and about 260 residential installations that have bumped up against the cap that was in the program. I'm pleased to push it up a little bit further."

Environmental groups back the bill because it supports a clean energy source.

"The Iowa Environmental Council strongly supports this bill because the tax credit has played an important role in helping strengthen Iowa's solar energy industry," spokesman Matt Hauge said in a statement.

The group said demand exceeded the cap by nearly 50 percent last year and interest in solar is growing rapidly.

Iowa first passed the credit in 2012. An attempt last year to make changes to the law passed the Senate unanimously but was not considered in the House.

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