The usual place to look for state tax incentives is DSIRETM (Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency). That database shows for Georgia not only state financial incentives but also a local loan program for Athens-Clarke County and a local rebate program for Atlanta. There’s a thought! Valdosta or Lowndes County could do a loan program for real clean renewable energy! or the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) could do that using some of its $15 million in bonds and other debt, assuming it hasn’t already spent all of it on locking up land.
Or Georgia Power or Colquitt Electric could do that, given that dozens of other electric utilities around the state already do.
There is also the federal rebate program of 30% and USDA has an agricultural program which I’m told can go up to 75%.
This wide range of programs is why renewable energy financing is complicated, and it would be most useful if some local entity (public or private) took on organizing financing. More on that later.
The immediate question was about Georgia. The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) handles that, and their web page says it’s active.
At the last minute, the Georgia legislature not only refunded but even expanded the program, according to Wes Hudson in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, 20 April 2011:
Section 3A of Senate Substitute for HB 346 amends and expands the existing Georgia Renewable Energy Tax Credit, O.C.G.A. Section 48-7-29.14. The amendment extends the renewable energy tax credit to the year ending Dec. 31, 2014, and for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 it newly expands the total statewide credit amount from $2.5 million to $5 million in each of the years 2012-2014. The tax credit in these later periods is to be realized over a four year period. In addition, in any year where the amounts above are fully claimed, those who apply for the state energy credit but couldn’t get any are added to a list based on the date they first applied for the credit, and are given first priority in the next year, over and above others in the later year who also filed. All other aspects of the existing tax credit remain the same.The legislature has even gotten it about renewable energy being a smart path to generate jobs:
The legislature made two amendments to renewable energy and conservation tax credits which continues to put Georgia on a smart path. Expected to be signed by Governor Nathan Deal, the conservation tax credit (Section 3 of House Bill 346) and the renewable energy tax credit (Section 3A of HB 346) amendments put jobs and economic growth at the forefront.The other amendment was about transfer of real property for tax credits; see the article for the details.
It seems that renewable energy as an economic development base is (finally) gaining momentum at the highest levels. Having previously lost major manufacturing plants (jobs, added tax base, etc.) to neighboring states, Georgia extending tax credits in this realm is a smart move. Even though many thought all tax incentives were supposed to be at risk due to budget cuts, challenged state and local budgets and other drivers, the Georgia legislature saw the light.