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Tax Incentives Assistance Project www.energytaxincentives.org Commercial Energy Efficiency Incentives
Business owners are eligible for a variety of federal tax incentives for improving building energy efficiency, implementing combined heat and power (CHP) systems, purchasing hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, and installing onsite renewable generation, fuel cells, and microturbines.
Businesses can take a tax deduction for new or renovated buildings by reducing the energy costs associated with three components—lighting system; building envelope; and heating, cooling and water heating equipment. Buildings must meet the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standard and be placed in service between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2013 in order to be eligible. The deduction is available in two levels:
o Buildings that save 50% or more of projected annual energy costs across all three system components are eligible for a tax deduction of $1.80 per square foot.
o Buildings that save a percentage of projected annual energy costs for one of the three components—building envelope (10% energy savings), lighting (20%), and heating & cooling (20%)—are eligible for a partial deduction of $0.60 per square foot.
The organization that makes the expenditures is generally the recipient of the deduction, which can be taken in the year the building is placed in service. In the case of a public building, the designer may take the deduction. The building must be certified by a qualified individual (a licensed engineer or contractor) as meeting the energy cost savings goal.
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) www.energytaxincentives.org/business/chp.php
Owners of CHP systems smaller than 50 MW may take advantage of a 10% investment tax credit for CHP property, applicable to only the first 15 MW of CHP property. Systems must be placed into service between October 3, 2008 and December 31, 2016. Only the original constructor or user of the CHP property may take the tax credit, in the year that the system becomes operational. To qualify, a CHP system must be 60% efficient (on a lower heating value basis), and produce at least 20% of its useful energy as electricity and at least another 20% as useful thermal energy. The efficiency requirement does not apply to CHP systems that use biomass for at least 90% of the system's energy source, but the credit will be reduced for less-efficient systems. The economic stimulus legislation also provides the option for businesses to take a grant from the U.S. Treasury Department during 2009 and 2010 in lieu of the investment tax credit. For more information on combined heat and power, see www.aceee.org/chp.
Commercial Vehicles www.energytaxincentives.org/business/commercial_vehicles.php
Buyers of heavy-duty hybrid vehicles can receive tax credits based on the weight class of the vehicle, its fuel economy relative to a comparable conventional vehicle, and the incremental cost. The vehicle must also meet a threshold value of "maximum available power," a measure of the percentage of total vehicle power available from the rechargeable energy storage system of the vehicle. Credits are available for heavy-duty vehicles placed in service from January 1, 2006 through December 31, 2009.
The maximum credit available is: $3,000 for a vehicle weighing 8,501 to 14,000 pounds; $6,000 for a vehicle from 14,001 to 26,000 pounds; and $12,000 for a vehicle over 26,000 pounds. See www.aceee.org/transportation/ hdhybtaxcred.htm for details. As of March 2009, nine manufacturers had certified tax credits for at least one truck or bus model; credits thus far range from $3,000 to $12,000. Businesses are also eligible for passenger vehicle incentives. See www.energytaxincentives.org/consumers/vehicles.php for details.
Onsite Renewables www.energytaxincentives.org/business/renewables.php
Business owners can take advantage of several onsite renewable generation incentives. The incentives apply to solar and wind systems placed in service from January 1, 2006 until December 31, 2016 and to geothermal heat pump systems placed in service from October 3, 2008 until December 31, 2016. The incentives are worth 30% of
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