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Solar tax credit offers bright prospects for local companies

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Solar panel installations will get another five-years of tax credit under the massive tax and spending bill approved in Congress last week. Proponents say the move will benefit the region's economy.

Congressman Brian Higgins pushed the extension and says public support for solar and other renewable electric source helped save the tax credit when it was on the way out.

"Green renewable energy is something that's not unique to Buffalo and Western New York," Higgins said. He was speaking in front of the massive Solar City building site in South Buffalo.

"We learned over a hundred years ago how to turn the natural environment into power, becoming one of the largest manufacturers or generators of hydro-electricity. And, now, we're going to see the largest manufacturer of solar panels right in in Buffalo and Western New York and the entire Western Hemisphere."

Higgins says Solar City is promising 1,400 jobs when the plant is in full operation, probably early in 2017 and the company is promising 5,000 jobs statewide within five years.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.