Vitally important to renewables developers, the Treasury Grant program was included in the 2009 Recovery Act to make financing available despite the scarcity of bank credit due to the economic crisis. Referred to as 1603, its section number, the grant allows developers to accept cash from the Treasury Department for projects started before December 31, 2010, in exchange for tax credits useless during the downturn.
Some claim that extending federal support such as 1603 to renewables puts U.S. money into foreign renewable industries. U.S. renewables advocates argue that federal investment has already grown significant domestic capacity, but that only more federal investment can grow domestic markets and achieve the economies of scale necessary to make the U.S. independent of imported energy.
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