The renewable energy industry cheered the passage of the U.S. tax bill, which included a provision to extend a generous grant program for projects in the fast-growing sector.
The grant program allows qualifying renewable energy projects such as solar and geothermal power plants to apply for a Treasury Department grant that covers up to 30 percent of costs. Until U.S. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, the program was slated to expire on Dec. 31, 2010.
"Orders will be on the rise for new wind power, and investors will put more capital into the U.S. economy because of what happened in Congress," said Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association.
The solar and geothermal industries also praised the provision's passage, saying it would help them drum up business and create new jobs.
The Solar Energy Industry Association said the grant program has already helped install about 1,000 megawatts of solar-electric capacity this year, sustaining thousands of jobs in construction and installation and supplying enough power for about 200,000 homes.