This week, a bill was introduced in the North Carolina Senate to extend the state’s renewable-energy tax credit to eligible property that is placed in service by the end of 2020. Eligible renewable-energy property would include property that is used for either business or nonbusiness purposes. The credit is currently set to expire at the end of 2015. This is a positive step for the North Carolina renewable-energy industry, since the North Carolina Senate has been relatively lukewarm in its support of this credit over the last several years, as compared to the North Carolina House of Representatives. The tax credit, which is equal to 35 percent of the costs of renewable-energy property, is among the most generous of such state incentives in the United States and has helped North Carolina become one of the top states in the nation for new solar-energy construction.
The bill is called the Energy Investment Act. It was introduced by three primary sponsors: Sens. Hartsell, Jr. (R-Cabarrus), Jackson (R-Duplin) and Tarte (R-Mecklenburg). Twenty-three additional senators have sponsored the bill. The North Carolina Senate comprises 50 senators, who serve two-year terms. A companion bill is expected to be introduced soon in the North Carolina House.
If the bill passes in both the House and Senate, it will become law, unless Governor Pat McCrory (R) vetoes it within 10 days (or within 30 days if the House and Senate are adjourned). There appears to be some risk of veto, because the governor’s budget for the 2015–2017 biennium, introduced on March 5, 2015, included the extension of tax credits for nonsolar, renewable-energy sources (which would include geothermal, wind, hydroelectric, and biomass sources), but not for solar energy. A veto can be overridden with the support of three-fifths of present and voting legislators in each chamber.