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Our View: Catching the sun

Oregon's tax credit for rooftop solar installations is due to expire at the end of the year, but a local climate group is preparing to help homeowners beat the deadline.

Rogue Climate is working to duplicate a Corvallis-based program that offers several ways to assist homeowners who want to install alternative energy systems. One approach is to have the homeowner sell the Oregon tax credit to raise the up-front cash needed to install the system.

Another tactic is to offer a no-interest loan against the federal tax credit available for solar installations. Federal tax credits can't be sold, but the loan achieves the same result because it comes due after April 15 of the following year.

There is a bill in the Oregon Legislature to extend the state's tax credit program, but Gov. Kate Brown opposes the measure, and it hasn't seen any action since April. Extending a tax credit estimated to cost the state $14 million in the next biennium is a tough sell when the state faces a budget shortfall.

The federal tax credit was scheduled to expire at the end of 2016, but in December of 2015 Congress extended it through 2021. The amount that can be deducted drops each year, starting at 30 percent of the cost through 2019, 26 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021.

So if you've been thinking about going solar, now would be a good time to get serious about it. The state program details can be found at http://bit.ly/2rZIvSI.