NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
Renewable Energy Tax Credits Could Become Permanent
> MASSACHUSETTS IS STILL RECOVERING from a winter full
of heavy snowstorms; however, thanks to a new major solar
power project, sunlight will now never be far from the minds of
the state’s residents.
TenK Energy, Integrys Solar LLC and GroSolar have announced that a new 4.5-megawatt (MW), direct current (DC)
solar-power project has been completed in Templeton, Mass.
GroSolar designed and built the installation. It was developed
by TenK Energy and then sold to Integrys Solar. The project will
provide almost 40 percent more energy per unit area, thanks to
the use of the high-energy-density TenKsolar DUO system.
The installation reached a 20-year power purchase agreement with Templeton Municipal Light & Water Plant. All in all,
it will supply enough energy to power about 700 homes.
Templeton, a town about 60 miles to the west of Boston,
has a population around 8,000. According to those involved,
the installation construction was a collaborative effort from
beginning to end.
“Achieving commercial operation of our largest solar-
photovoltaic project in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is
a key milestone for our company,” said Joel Jansen, vice presi-
dent of Integrys Solar LLC, in a press release. “Integrys Solar
would like to thank the town of Templeton for their support of
solar energy, and our engineering, procurement, and construc-
tion partner, GroSolar, for bringing this project to completion
both safely and on time.”
Integrys Solar is a holding company that owns and operates
solar-generation projects in Arizona, California, Connecticut,
Hawaii, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.
GroSolar has been involved in projects such as this for more
than 15 years. CEO Jamie Resor is optimistic this installation will
provide power to Templeton for a long time to come.
“All of the partners worked together through the challenges
and towards a successful project that will provide a reliable source
of solar energy for the Templeton community,” Resor said.
—MAT T KRAUS
> DESPITE THEIR GROWING POPULARITY AND USE, renewable
power still faces the challenge of not being cost-competitive
with fossil fuels. To compensate for this disadvantage, they
have benefitted for many years from tax credits and other
The most significant tax incentives have been the federal
credits for investments in solar and wind power. As beneficial
as they have been for these growing industries, the credits have
suffered from an issue of reliability, not unlike the problem of
intermittency facing the power itself. While renewables have to
overcome the problem of intermittency caused by nature, the
tax credits suffer from an unpredictability caused by politics.
The federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) have always been temporary incentives that must be renewed at regular intervals. That inconsistency has had a negative impact on the industry, since financiers
and developers are reluctant to invest in new projects if they
can’t be certain that the tax credit will be available to them.
The solution is to make the credits permanent. Until now,
federal lawmakers have been unwilling to make that commitment. Now, President Barack Obama wants to break that cycle.
In his 2016 budget, Obama is proposing a permanent extension of the ITC and the PTC. The ITC provides a 30 percent tax
credit for new systems. It is scheduled to expire at the end of
2016. The PTC provides tax credit for renewable power generated. It was allowed to expire at the end of 2013; subsequently,
Congress adopted a grandfather provision to apply to any new
projects started before Jan. 1, 2014.
It is unlikely that the Republican-controlled Congress will
go along with the president’s proposal to make both credits
permanent, but the proposal could serve as a starting point for
negotiation over future extensions.
Solar Installation Completed in Massachusetts Town
System, Templeton, Mass.