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Health, Science, Environment

Mo. solar energy companies call to extend federal renewable energy tax grant

This array of solar panels on top of a building helps power the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.
File photo | Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association
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This array of solar panels on top of a building helps power the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis.

Missouri solar energy companies are calling for Congress to extend a federal tax grant for renewable energy.

The 1603 Treasury Program lets solar, wind, and other renewable energy developers take an existing 30 percent tax credit as a cash grant, instead.

The executive director of the Missouri Solar Energy Industries Association, Heidi Schoen, says the tax grant program has driven investment in renewable energy projects nationwide.

"But specifically in Missouri, you know the 1603 Treasury Program has driven $656 million of investment to the state," Schoen said. "That's significant. And supported 44 clean energy projects, 37 of which are solar projects."

Schoen says losing the tax grant would hurt the renewable energy sector.

“Right now, if it expires, it would shrink total financing available for energy projects by 52 percent in 2012, and it would stifle job creation and restrict the market's ability to leverage private sector capital to finance new domestic energy projects," Schoen said.

National environmental groups and solar power companies have sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to push for an extension of the cash grant option.

Without Congressional action, the program will expire at the end of this month.

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