Are LA Energy Tax Credits Here to Stay?

James Haralson Louisiana residents looking for more sustainable ways to power their homes and apartments have had a powerful tool from the Louisiana government available for the past four years. Renewable energy credits allow Louisiana homeowners to "go green," receiving up to a 50% refundable tax credit from the state for the costs of renewable technology installation. However, with the Louisiana legislature reconvening in March, some lawmakers and critics are looking to reduce these credits citing the large financial impacts on the state. In 2007, Louisiana lawmakers passed the Wind and Solar Energy Systems Tax credit. According to the Louisiana Department of Revenue, this tax credit is available to individuals "who install a wind or solar energy system" at their residence in Louisiana. This credit also applies to "owners of residential rental apartment projects in Louisiana." The maximum amount of the credit per system is $12,000. The state Department of Revenue also says the credit is "fifty percent of the cost of each wind energy system or solar system," which includes installation costs. According to SBWire, in order to qualify for this credit, the property must be a home residence or apartment building. In addition, the previous owner of the property must "not have applied for or received" the credit. Supporters told WWL that the tax break "encourages clean energy investment and has helped create new jobs across Louisiana in solar industry." Jeff Shaw, owner of Gulf South Solar, told WWL reporters that the state now has more than "200 registered licensed solar installers in the state." But this tax credit may soon be in danger of not getting renewed, as pressure continues to mount from critics and lawmakers who argue that the tax credit is costing the state too much money. In august, WWL reported that the department presented a proposal that would "tighten regulations governing the tax program." In October, Alexandria's Town Talk reported that Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway and renewable energy industries debated the merits of the tax credit in front of lawmakers. According to the Town Talk, Holloway argued that there would be "no end" to the spending if the tax credit were allowed to continue at its current state. On the other side of the debate, Tucker Crawford, with the Gulf States Renewable Energy Industries Association, argued that the credit "created direct and indirect full-time jobs" by the hundreds and thousands. As both sides of the issue continue to debate the effectiveness of these tax credits, all eyes will be on Louisiana lawmakers as they ultimately decide the fate of these tax credits in March.

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