This afternoon the House Ways & Means Committee passed the energy tax portions of the stimulus package, including:
Investment Tax Credit Refundability. For alternative energy property put into service in 2009 and 2010, companies may apply for a cash grant equal to the value of the investment tax credit from the Department of Energy. DOE must make these grant payments within 60 days of receipt of the application and may not in its discretion deny any such applications that qualify for the credit. Companies may apply for the payments through September 30, 2011. The amount of the ITCs equal 30% of the base investment amount for solar, winds, and fuel cell property and equal 10% for geothermal and micro-turbine property.
Election of ITC over PTC. For property placed in service in 2009 and 2010, alternative energy companies entitled to the Production Tax Credit can elect to receive the Investment Tax Credit instead. This election would allow them to qualify for the refundability provisions of the DOE grant program.
Awesome! (see “Note to Obama, Congress on green stimulus: No to phony clean coal credits, yes to refundable renewable tax credits, Part 1“)
Why exactly does it matter so much that tax credit for renewable projects can be refundable? That was well explained by a recent WashPost article: