2013-02-14 / News

Bill would reinstitute tax credit

Residential renewable-energy installations are a way for homeowners to produce their own low-cost, pollution-free energy. But whether solar, geothermic or wind-powered, residential renewable energy systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

For five years last decade, Rhode Islanders interested in installing a system had help: the renewable energy tax credit. The credit provided homeowners 25 percent of the cost of the system, within limits. But the credit ceased after 2010, when a new streamlined state income tax system eliminated it and other such breaks.

State Rep. Deb Ruggiero, with the support of environmental advocates, is pushing to reinstate the renewable energy tax credit this year.

“The renewable energy tax credit is an investment with many returns,” said Ruggiero. “It helps environmentally concerned Rhode Islanders invest in green energy for their home while creating jobs for renewable energy small businesses in our state.”

In 2011, a renewable energy task force led by Ruggiero found that the elimination of the tax credit had stalled the market for solar installations. In its report that year, the task force recommended restoring the credit to make homes more energy efficient. The report said that the tax credit would also create jobs and income-tax revenue for the state.

“It’s an investment that keeps money in Rhode Island by supporting the environmental building trades and the jobs within them while creating home-grown power, resulting in a cleaner environment,” said Ruggiero.

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