While the solar industry breathed a collective sigh of relief today at not having their meager 5 million in state investment tax credits slashed in half, the public transportation sector may get to celebrate with 10 million dollars in new money. House Bill 818, amended by the Senate Finance Committee today, removed the provisions that would take the, already over-subscribed, Clean Energy Property tax credit from 5 million down to 2.5 million, crippling the solar/geothermal industry. In a gesture of goodwill however, towards the natural gas vehicle industry (and without any posted agenda), the committee created a new $10 million dollar pool of money for purchasers of CNG heavy-duty trucks/buses and light duty trucks/taxis.

The next steps are unclear. If the Rules Committee (meeting this evening) sends this bill to the Senate Floor for a vote, and if the vote is approved, there would be two conflicting versions of the same bill; the House-approved version with the reduced tax credit for Clean Energy, and the Senate-approved version with the new 10 million for Natural Gas Vehicles. At this point, the latest version would be sent back to the House for an Agree/Disagree vote.  If the House “agrees”, then the bill would go to the Governor for his signature and become law. If the House “disagrees”, then the bill goes back to the Senate, where they would have to agree to the original House-passed solar-cutting version, or “insist” on their Natural Gas new-credit version.   If they “insist”, a conference committee is set up with 3 people from each side to ultimately decide on what they should do.

As usual, it’s down to the wire.