skip to main content

H.R. 5985 (109th): Empowering America Act of 2006

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 28, 2006 (Introduced).

I

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5985

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 28, 2006

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means, and in addition to the Committees on Financial Services, Science, and Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend and modify conservation and energy efficiency tax incentives, to extend the energy efficient appliance rebate program, to establish the Center for Advanced Solar Research, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Empowering America Act of 2006.

2.

Extension and modification of credit for residential energy efficient property

(a)

Extension

Subsection (g) of section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to termination) is amended by striking 2007 and inserting 2015.

(b)

Modification of maximum credit

Paragraph (1) of section 25D(b) of such Code (relating to limitations) is amended to read as follows:

(1)

Maximum credit

The credit allowed under subsection (a) for any taxable year shall not exceed—

(A)

$2,000 with respect to each half kilowatt of capacity of qualified photovoltaic property for which qualified photovoltaic property expenditures are made,

(B)

$2,000 with respect to any qualified solar water heating property expenditures, and

(C)

$500 with respect to each half kilowatt of capacity of qualified fuel cell property (as defined in section 48(c)(1)) for which qualified fuel cell property expenditures are made.

.

(c)

Credit allowed against alternative minimum tax

(1)

In general

Section 25D(b) of such Code (as amended by subsection (b)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(3)

Credit allowed against alternative minimum tax

The credit allowed under subsection (a) for the taxable year shall not exceed the excess of—

(A)

the sum of the regular tax liability (as defined in section 26(b)) plus the tax imposed by section 55, over

(B)

the sum of the credits allowable under subpart A of part IV of subchapter A and section 27 for the taxable year.

.

(2)

Conforming amendment

Subsection (c) of section 25D of such Code is amended to read as follows:

(c)

Carryforward of unused credit

If the credit allowable under subsection (a) for any taxable year exceeds the limitation imposed by subsection (b)(3) for such taxable year, such excess shall be carried to the succeeding taxable year and added to the credit allowable under subsection (a) for such succeeding taxable year.

.

(d)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006.

3.

Extension and modification of credit for nonbusiness energy property

(a)

Extension

Subsection (g) of section 25C of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to termination) is amended by striking 2007 and inserting 2015.

(b)

Modification of credit amount

Section 25C of such Code (relating to nonbusiness energy property) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(1), by striking 10 percent and inserting 15 percent, and

(2)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in paragraph (1), by striking $500 and inserting $1,000,

(B)

in paragraph (2), by striking $200 and inserting $500, and

(C)

in paragraph (3)—

(i)

in subparagraph (A), by striking $50 and inserting $150,

(ii)

in subparagraph (B), by striking $150 and inserting $300, and

(iii)

in subparagraph (C), by striking $300 and inserting $500.

(c)

Credit allowed against alternative minimum tax

Section 25C(b) of such Code (as amended by subsection (b)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(4)

Credit allowed against alternative minimum tax

The credit allowed under subsection (a) for the taxable year shall not exceed the excess of—

(A)

the sum of the regular tax liability (as defined in section 26(b)) plus the tax imposed by section 55, over

(B)

the sum of the credits allowable under subpart A of part IV of subchapter A and section 27 for the taxable year.

.

(d)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006.

4.

Extension and modification of energy efficient commercial buildings deduction

(a)

Extension

Subsection (h) of section 179D of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to termination) is amended by striking 2007 and inserting 2015.

(b)

Modification of maximum deduction

Subparagraph (A) of section 179D(b)(1)(A) of such Code (relating to maximum amount of deduction) is amended by striking $1.80 and inserting $2.00.

(c)

Modification of partial allowance

Subparagraph (A) of section 179D(d)(1) of such Code (relating to partial allowance) is amended in the flush text following clause (ii) by striking substituting $.60 for $1.80 and inserting substituting $.75 for $2.00.

(d)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006.

5.

Extension of energy credit for equipment which uses solar energy

(a)

In general

Subsection (a) of section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to energy credit) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (2)(A)(i)(II) by striking 2008 and inserting 2015, and

(2)

in paragraph (3)(A)(ii) by striking 2008 and inserting 2015.

(b)

Effective date

The amendments made by this section shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2006.

6.

Study on effectiveness of energy efficiency tax incentives

(a)

Study

The Secretary of Energy, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, shall conduct a study on the effectiveness of the conservation and energy efficiency tax incentives enacted in subtitle C of the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 that includes an analysis of the rate of participation with respect to such tax incentives and recommendations for additional measures that could be taken to increase the rate of participation.

(b)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Energy shall transmit to Congress a report on the results of the study conducted pursuant to subsection (a).

7.

Energy efficient appliance rebate programs

Section 124(f) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15821(f)) is amended by striking 2010 and inserting 2015.

8.

Solar energy systems building permit requirements for receipt of community development block grant funds

Section 104 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5304) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(n)

Requirements for building permits regarding solar energy systems

(1)

In general

A grant under section 106 for a fiscal year may be made only if the grantee certifies to the Secretary that—

(A)

in the case of a grant under section 106(a) for any Indian tribe or insular area, during such fiscal year the cost of any permit or license, for construction or installation of any solar energy system for any structure, that is required by the tribe or insular area or by any other unit of general local government or other political subdivision of such tribe or insular area, complies with paragraph (2);

(B)

in the case of a grant under section 106(b) for any metropolitan city or urban county, during such fiscal year the cost of any permit or license, for construction or installation of any solar energy system for any structure, that is required by the metropolitan city or urban county, or by any other political subdivision of such city or county, complies with paragraph (2); and

(C)

in the case of a grant under section 106(d) for any State, during such fiscal year the cost of any permit or license, for construction or installation of any solar energy system for any structure, that is required by the State, or by any other unit of general local government within any nonentitlement area of such State, or other political subdivision within any nonentitlement area of such State or such a unit of general local government, complies with paragraph (2).

(2)

Limitation on cost

The cost of permit or license for construction or installation of any solar energy system complies with this paragraph only if such cost does not exceed the following amount:

(A)

Residential structures

In the case of a structure primarily for residential use, $500.

(B)

Nonresidential structures

In the case of a structure primarily for nonresidential use, 1.0 percent of the total cost of the installation or construction of the solar energy system.

(3)

Noncompliance

If the Secretary determines that a grantee of a grant made under section 106 is not in compliance with a certification under paragraph (1)—

(A)

the Secretary shall notify the grantee of such determination; and

(B)

if the grantee has not corrected such noncompliance before the expiration of the 6-month period beginning upon notification under subparagraph (A), such grantee shall not be eligible for a grant under section 106 for the first fiscal year that commences after the expiration of such 6-month period.

(4)

Solar energy system

For purposes of this subsection, the term solar energy system means, with respect to a structure, equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity for, or to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in), such structure.

.

9.

Prohibition of restrictions on residential installation of solar energy system

(a)

Regulations

Within 180 days after the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in consultation with the Secretary of Energy, shall issue regulations—

(1)

to prohibit any private covenant, contract provision, lease provision, homeowners’ association rule or bylaw, or similar restriction, that impairs the ability of the owner or lessee of any residential structure designed for occupancy by one family to install, construct, maintain, or use a solar energy system on such residential property; and

(2)

to require that whenever any such covenant, provision, rule or bylaw, or restriction requires approval for the installation or use of a solar energy system, the application for approval shall be processed and approved by the appropriate approving entity in the same manner as an application for approval of an architectural modification to the property, and shall not be willfully avoided or delayed.

(b)

Contents

Such regulations shall provide that—

(1)

such a covenant, provision, rule or bylaw, or restriction impairs the installation, construction, maintenance, or use of a solar energy system if it—

(A)

unreasonably delays or prevents installation, maintenance, or use;

(B)

unreasonably increases the cost of installation, maintenance, or use; or

(C)

precludes use of such a system; and

(2)

any fee or cost imposed on the owner or lessee of such a residential structure by such a covenant, provision, rule or bylaw, or restriction shall be considered unreasonable if—

(A)

such fee or cost is not reasonable in comparison to the cost of the solar energy system or the value of its use; or

(B)

treatment of solar energy systems by the covenant, provision, rule or bylaw, or restriction is not reasonable in comparison with treatment of comparable systems by the same covenant, provision, rule or bylaw, or restriction.

(c)

Solar energy system

For purposes of this section, the term solar energy system means, with respect to a structure, equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity for, or to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in), such structure.

10.

Center for Advanced Solar Research

(a)

Establishment

The Secretary of Energy shall establish a Center for Advanced Solar Research and Development within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to carry out an advanced solar research and development program to coordinate and promote the further development of solar technologies. This program shall include a competitive grant program for academia and private research in solar technologies. The Center shall serve as a clearinghouse for United States solar research and development, supporting research, development, and demonstration of advanced solar energy systems. The Center shall advance—

(1)

performance, reliability, environmental impact, and cost-competiveness of solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies;

(2)

large-scale photovoltaic and solar thermal power plants;

(3)

thermal and electricity storage technologies to enhance the dispatchability of solar energy;

(4)

fuel production technologies using solar energy;

(5)

innovation in manufacturing techniques and processes for solar energy systems;

(6)

materials and devices to improve photovoltaic conversion efficiencies and reduce costs;

(7)

policy analysis aimed at increasing use of solar energy technologies, and monitoring the effectiveness of existing policies; and

(8)

comprehensive solar systems integration.

(b)

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Energy for carrying out this section $250,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2007 through 2011, to remain available until expended.