Long Beach, CA (PressExposure) October 21, 2009 -- Companies that invest in green technologies can derive very significant up-front state and federal tax credits, and other financial benefits to offset the added cost of "going green".
Despite the challenging economy and related capital markets restrictions, business owners across the country are continuing to invest in a variety of eco-friendly technologies. Businesses that choose to invest in green technologies do so for a variety of reasons including:
a. Being socially responsible, b. Reducing long-term operating costs, c. Public relations/ employee relations benefits, d. Securing tax benefits e. Or most likely a combination of all these factors.
And those companies that have not yet invested are certainly evaluating ways to reduce their long-term energy costs and "green" quotient.
A sampling of the types of investments that business owners are making to reduce their energy costs, as well as their carbon footprint, include:
a. Developing their own power sources, such as solar, cogeneration, geothermal, etc., b. Purchasing more energy efficient office and processing equipment, c. Acquiring alternative powered vehicles, d. Installing pollution control and energy control systems, e. Adopting or improving their office and plant recycling programs and f. Using more renewable raw materials and supplies.
While great strides are being made to reduce the carbon footprints of businesses and individuals, these new eco-friendly shoes can come at a very high price.
For example: a. The capital outlay for a Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) semi-truck can exceed $200,000 per big rig (but such an investment can be partially offset with federal credits of over $28,000 per truck), b. Solar panels generally have a 4 to 6- year payback period, and c. An energy efficient LEED-certified building can increase construction costs by 50% or more.
As positive as these eco investments are on the environment and the communities these businesses operates in, business owners will still naturally look to the lowest cost method for greening their businesses. Unfortunately, sometimes this means deferring the planned upgrades until cash flow is sufficient to justify the significant up-front costs.
On the bright side, there are a large number of federal and state business tax incentives, including energy and pollution control tax incentives, hiring credit incentives research & development credits and accelerated depreciation benefits readily available to a large cross-section of industries.
Energy Incentives: a. Federal Solar Credit of 30% on Solar Panels and related equipment b. Federal Small Wind Energy Credit of 30% (Maximum Rating of 100 kilowatts) c. Cogeneration energy production from alternative fuel sources - 30% federal credit d. Alternative Fueling Stations, including electric recharging stations - federal credit equal to the lesser of: i) 50% of the eligible costs, or ii) $50,000 per station. More pricey hydrogen station credit caps are increased to the lesser of: 30% or $200,000 per station e. Hybrid or Electric Vehicles - $2,500 to $15,000 per electric vehicle purchased or a 10% credit for conversion costs to convert a conventional or hybrid vehicle to a plug-in electric format. The pay-back period can be relatively quick at $3 per gallon of gasoline f. Federal bonus depreciation at 50% of asset costs and IRC Section 179 "expensing" of most tangible personal property for assets purchased by December 31, 2009 also offer significant up-front tax advantages through the end of the year g. Federal and state Research & Development costs for credits h. Federal and state grants and loans are also readily available, but require some research and effort
For companies that design, manufacture, assemble or distribute green technology products, some of the largest tax incentives come in the form of Location Based Incentive Credits (LBICs) which are available to most companies operating in any of the over 8,000 federal, state and local tax incentive zones throughout the country. Therefore, companies are very wise to carefully choose where they establish or expand their business in order to minimize their federal and state tax burdens. A small sampling of the 40 state and numerous federal LBIC programs include:
The California Enterprise Zone Program available in 42 Zones throughout the state, which offers:
a. Hiring tax credits up to $13,000 per year/ per qualified employee b. Equipment credits up to 10.75% on pollution control, energy control, technology, manufacturing and processing equipment used exclusively in a Zone c. Lender tax exemption for loans to businesses operating exclusively in a Zone d. Employee-Level credits up to $525 e. Favorable permitting, bidding, grants and loans
Florida Enterprise Zone Program available in 56 regions throughout the state provides benefits including: a. Hiring credits up to 45% of wages paid to qualified employee b. Sales tax refunds up to $10,000 on electrical energy, building materials, and equipment used exclusively in a Zone c. Property tax credits up to $50,000 on taxes paid on new or improved property d. Federal Empowerment Zone Program (up to $3,000 per qualified employee/ per year) e. Federal Renewal Community Program (up to $1,500 per qualified employee/ per year) f. Federal Rural Renewal County Program (up to $4,800 per qualified employee/ per year) g. Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program available to business operating in any location - from $2,400 to $4,800 per qualified employee and up to $8,500 for Welfare-to-Work employees