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Businesses save off green incentives

Mitchell Hartman Mar 15, 2010
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Businesses save off green incentives

Mitchell Hartman Mar 15, 2010
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Steve Chiotakis: You and I have another month to get our taxes done. But for businesses, today is tax day. At least for those that file quarterly estimated taxes. One thing some of them will be figuring out: How much they’ve saved on their tax bills with various green incentives.

From the Entrepreneurship Desk at Oregon Public Broadcasting, Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: State and local tax incentives can help a business save thousands on building retrofits — installing compact fluorescent light bulbs, new windows, insulation and the like. Federal tax credits can offset up to 30 percent of the cost for installing wind turbines or solar panels.

Rhone Resch is president of the Solar Energy Industry Association. He says that’s helped jump-start the industry.

RHONE RESCH: In 2009 we had a record year, installation of photovoltaics grew by over 40 percent in the United States.

The government’s tax credits and rebates are doing a lot for big industries. But not so much for small business.

Steve King is a consultant at Emergent Research. He says most small businesses can’t afford to install a new solar array. Or even green building upgrades that take advantage of state and local rebates.

STEVE KING: Overall, small businesses haven’t been able to take advantage of them, primarily because they are tax incentives based on investments. And the climate’s such with the Great Recession that small businesses have not been in a position to make those investments.

Another problem right now: you can’t save on your taxes if you’re in the red.

KING: The tax benefit only helps if you’re paying taxes, and you’re only paying taxes if you’re making money. And so the benefit only starts to take off once the economy begins to recover.

King expects more companies to invest in energy efficiency as profits return. And, in states with strong incentives, they’ll be able to cut their tax bills too.

I’m Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

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