The U.S. Congress remained at an impasse on Monday over legislation that would extend renewable-energy tax credits, which are set to expire at the end of the year.
The Senate has refused to take up the bill passed by the House on Friday, arguing that the House version will not receive support from the Senate or from the White House. The House voted to modify the bill that the Senate had passed last Tuesday (see Volley Continues Over Renewable-Energy Credits).
Both the House and Senate versions would extend solar-investment credits for eight years, and they would extend solar-, biomass- and hydropower-production credits for two years. Wind-production credits would be extended for one year. Both bills also would offer a slew of tax breaks for consumers to install solar panels and small wind turbines, as well as buying plug-in hybrid electric cars (see Senate Oks $18B in Tax Credits).
But the House bill removed measures that would provide incentives for refineries to process oil from shale or tar sands, or make fuel from coal, which the Senate inserted to appease the Republicans.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. issued a statement Monday urging the House to reconsider the Senate's version of the bill. The Senate is not scheduled to vote on the House version of the tax-credits bill.
In the meantime, both the House and the Senate are busy with the $700 billion package to bail out the financial industry. The House rejected the package, which means its members are expected to keep working on a deal until they can pass it. The Senate is waiting for the House and expects to vote on the bailout plan as early as Thursday.
Here is look at other solar news:
- Schott Solar plans to raise as much as €656.6 million ($960.6 million) in an initial public offering this week, reversing a decision last week to postpone the IPO. The German company intends to sell up to 34 million shares at between €14.50 to €19.50 per share Wednesday. The company's stock is scheduled to begin trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Thursday.
- Japan intends to boost solar energy usage by giving ¥200,000 ($1,890) to residents for buying and installing solar energy systems in their homes, reported the Nikkei business newspaper (via Reuters). The incentives would offset about 10 percent of the cost of a system, the newspaper reported. Japan might launch the incentive program before the fiscal year ends in March 2009. The subsidies would be part of the government's larger plan to reduce greenhouse emissions (see Japan Wants to Resurrect Solar Incentives and Japan Proposes $4B to Cut Emissions).
- Centrica bought Solar Technologies Group for £2.8 million ($5.15 million) in cash. Before the acquisition, Centrica's British Gas had hired the U.K.-based Solar Technologies to install solar panels in places including the London City Hall, Centrica said.
- EDF Energies Nouvelles, a subsidiary of the French utility ED Group, has raised €500 million ($725.9 million) to expand its solar business, reported SustainableBusiness.com. The company launched its fund-raising earlier this month by selling new shares at €32.20 per share. Shareholders can buy each new share for four existing shares.
- Solar Power Partners has raised $100 million in equity and debt financing to fund solar installations and other company operations. The company, based in Mill Valley, Calif., expects to receive an additional $60 million for project financing by the end of the year. Solar Power installs and operates solar power systems in exchange for long-term power purchase agreements from businesses, schools and other organizations. Investors included United Commercial Bank, Globespan Capital Partners, The Enlightened World Foundation, Carrelton Asset Management, Dry Creek Ventures, Silicon Valley Technology Group and Energy Investors Fund.
- Spanish solar company Fotowatio has purchased four solar power plants in Spain with a total production capacity of 32 megawatts. The company now operates 900 megawatts worth of power plants and is developing about 1.1 gigawatts of solar power projects in Spain, Italy and the United States. In July, the company said it was to receive $350 million from GE Energy Financial Services and Grupo Corporativo Landon. The investment gave GE a 32 percent stake in Fotowatio while Grupo grabbed 17.5 percent.