Stimulus Bill Energy Provisions Underway


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Stimulus Bill Energy Provisions Underway

Renewable energy continues to be a major focus of attention in Washington and SEMI is working hard to promote our member companies’ solar energy interests. Several Congressional hearings on energy have occurred during the last few weeks addressing specific energy legislation. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee announced that it will begin marking up energy legislation this week. The committee will analyze the impact of energy development and production of water resources, updating appliance efficiency standards and increasing energy efficiency for manufacturers. After the April Congressional recess, the committee will conduct another series of legislation mark ups on more difficult energy issues. These may include a renewable portfolio standard and green energy development on public lands.

Washington Forum Coming Up

On April 29, SEMI will host the Washington Forum. This annual event brings the SEMI North American Advisory Board and other industry executives to Washington to meet with policymakers. Energy will be front and center during this year’s Washington Forum and SEMI will be weighing in with Congressional leadership and Members that are entrenched in the energy debate. During the Washington Forum, SEMI will also address other policy issues of major importance to our membership including innovation and export control.

Stimulus and Grant Opportunities Update

The recently passed stimulus bill included billions for renewable energy projects, a 30 percent renewable energy manufacturing tax credit to be established and certified by the Treasury Department, funding for the ARPA-E program, and a new loan guarantee program at the Department of Energy. Each of these creates new opportunities for SEMI member companies and their customers. Initial stimulus grant RFP’s could happen as early as April or May.

Interest in Pursuing Grant Opportunities?

SEMI highly encourages member companies who are interested in pursuing grant opportunities to take the following steps:

Manufacturing Tax Credit

Along with Applied Materials and Oerlikon Solar, SEMI is working with the Washington Tax Group on the new 30 percent renewable energy manufacturing tax credit. The Washington Tax Group is a government relations firm specializing in the development and implementation of legislative and regulatory solutions on a broad range of tax matters.

The Treasury has 180 days from the enactment of the stimulus bill to create a certification requirement for the tax credit. SEMI’s goal is to ensure that the renewable energy manufacturing tax credit regulations are favorable to solar PV investments and that the certification program is established as quickly as possible to assist prospective customers of SEMI member companies that wish to access the tax credit.

Loan Guarantee Program

Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that Energy Secretary Chu tentatively approved the first loan guarantee for a renewable energy project pending the expected completion of remaining conditions. The $535 million loan guarantee is expected to create thousands of new jobs in the United States by supporting Solyndra, Inc.’s construction of a manufacturing plant to produce cylindrical solar photovoltaic panels. Solyndra, Inc. is based in Fremont, California and is scaling up its production in its manufacturing facilities.

The DOE conducts an analysis of possible risks before granting loan guarantees. This assessment ensures that the risks are properly mitigated for each project including a thorough investigation and analysis of each project’s financial, technical and legal strengths and weaknesses.

As a result of the stimulus bill, the DOE has significantly shortened the loan guarantee application and streamlined the process so that they can start reviewing the applications at the time that they are received. Previously, the DOE would wait until the application deadline and review all applications at once. For more information on the DOE loan guarantee program, visit http://www.lgprogram.energy.gov.

For information on the Stimulus Bill and other programs, please contact Ken Schramko at kschramko@semi.org.

April 1, 2009