Senator Fuschillo Proposes Business Tax Credit For Using Solar & Alternative Energy Systems

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

February 03, 2006

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District), a member of the Senate’s Commerce, Economic Development, & Small Business Committee, is sponsoring legislation that would establish a tax credit for businesses that utilize alternative energy sources, such as solar or fuel cell energy. This tax credit would build on the successes of a similar tax credit already available to individual homeowners.

"Generating electricity through solar power and fuel cells offers a way to meet our rising need for energy without the pollution, health and safety hazards of conventional sources of power. These innovative energy sources promise to increase our energy supply, decrease everyone’s cost of electricity and free us from our dependency on foreign oil. This credit would help offset the high start-up costs of these technologies and encourage businesses to take advantage of these environmentally friendly sources of power," said Senator Fuschillo. "Lower energy costs will also enable businesses to invest more money into expansion and job creation, which will stimulate the economy and provide additional opportunities for all New Yorkers."

Under Senator Fuschillo’s proposal, businesses that install solar or fuel cell generating systems would be able to recover up to 50% of their costs through the tax credit. Power companies and utilities would not be eligible for this tax credit.

Current state law already allows individual homeowners who use solar power to receive a personal income tax credit. Residents can receive a credit against their personal income tax of up to $5,000 to help offset the costs of purchasing and installing solar energy systems in their homes. It is estimated that in 2005, this tax credit provided approximately $800,000 in assistance to individuals who installed solar energy systems in their homes.

"By providing a tax credit for solar technology to be installed on small business owners’ properties, we will enable these business owners to afford new technologies and not only save money on the cost, but also on the yearly operation. This would be a great benefit for the small business owners in New York State," stated Richard Bivone, President of the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce.

"We’re extremely enthusiastic about Senator Fuschillo’s proposal to provide state tax credits to businesses that use alternative energy technologies," said Long Island Power Authority Chairman Richard M. Kessel. "LIPA’s Clean Energy Initiative, which was fostered by Governor Pataki and supported by public officials such as Senator Fuschillo, provides a range of cash rebates to residential customers and businesses that use solar and geothermal technologies. Senator Fuschillo’s tax credit initiative will provide businesses with a very attractive incentive to use alternative energy technologies, which in turn will help lower our region’s dependence on fossil-fuel generated electricity."

"Senator Fuschillo’s proposed legislation is a win-win situation for everyone. Businesses will have more of an incentive to conserve energy, and residents certainly want businesses on Long Island to prosper and remain a vital part of our quality of life. At the same time, this will help protect our environment through the installation of energy-saving technologies that have proven over time to be effective," said Rich Schary, a local environmental activist.

The State Senate passed this legislation earlier this week, and it is now in the Assembly’s Ways and Means Committee.