You Don’t Need To Be Rich To Go Green With the Build Back Better Proposed Incentives

Coventry, UK - February 23, 2019: Owner of Nissan Leaf electric car plugged the charger of the car in City Centre of Coventry.
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The Biden administration has made no secret of its desire to lower the country’s carbon footprint, and it has backed that desire up with legislation. The proposed Build Back Better bill includes $555 billion to address climate change, and that’s on top of historic levels of climate-change funding included in the already-passed infrastructure bill.

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Normally, government incentives to reduce carbon emissions tend to reward people who have enough money to buy pricey electric vehicles or solar-powered homes. But the Build Back Better proposal — which has already been approved by the U.S. House and is now being reviewed by the Senate — features numerous tax incentives that could help Americans who aren’t rich.

While those incentives include tax credits for EVs, they also include credits for e-bikes for those who want less expensive modes of transportation. And if you can’t afford a custom-built solar home, tax credits are available for individual solar panels that let you decarbonize your house one room at a time. Tax credits are also available for geothermal heat pumps, wind turbines and electric motorcycles.

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Under the BBB proposal, families would get up to $12,500 off of electric car purchases as long as the car is made in the United States with union labor and an American-made battery, the Grist website reported. Otherwise, the plan provides a $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of a new EV, plug-in hybrid car or electric motorcycle. Individuals who buy e-bikes would get a credit of up to $900 as long as the bike doesn’t cost more than $4,000.

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The plan would also pay up to 30% of the cost of a home solar-panel installation, geothermal heat pump, wind turbine or other improvements that increase energy efficiency.

In the House version of the BBB bill, both the electric vehicle tax credit and the credit for solar panels and home efficiency improvements will be refundable, the Grist noted. This means households whose tax credit reduces their tax liability to less than $0 will get a check from the IRS for the remainder of the credit.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.

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