I just got an email from the Solar Energies Industry Association (SEIA) asking for people to let their representatives know they support extending the 2005 investment tax credits for residential solar power and fuel cells. The credits are set to expire in 2007, but there’s a bill being proposed to extend it another 8 years.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 created a 30% investment tax credit for residential solar and fuel cell technologies and increased the commercial solar ITC to 30%. Both of these changes are currently set to expire at the end of 2007, which will not induce the solar industry to make the major manufacturing investments needed to scale up production.

The Securing America’s Energy Independence Act will remedy this situation by extending both the commercial and residential tax credits through 2015. The bill also makes two changes to the solar credits to enhance their effectiveness — capping the residential credit at $2,000 per kilowatt (as opposed to a flat $2,000 cap), and adding an exemption which allows consumers to take the credits against the alternative minimum tax (AMT). The bill also extends the fuel cell tax credits through 2015.

The bill’s sponsors include Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in the Senate and Reps. J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) and Michael McNulty (D-NY) in the House. We also expect more than a dozen initial cosponsors in the House and several in the Senate. Our goal is to reach at least 100 House cosponsors and 20 Senate cosponsors.

More information on the bill is available at govtrack .

You can also go to the renewable action network if you want to send your representatives an email or fax.