Federal Tax Credit Proposed for Fuel Cell Buyers

Johnson-McNulty federal alternative energy bill proposes a $1,000 per kilowatt tax credit for purchasers of stationary fuel cell systems that supply home electricity.

Published: 28-Mar-2001

H Power Corp. (NASDAQ:HPOW), a leading fuel cell development company, and Energy Co-Opportunity Inc. (ECO), an organization serving nearly 1,000 rural electric utility cooperatives and a market of 35 million residential electric customers, today endorsed the Johnson-McNulty federal alternative energy bill, which proposes a $1,000 per kilowatt tax credit for purchasers of stationary fuel cell systems that supply home electricity.

The bill, sponsored by Representatives Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT) and Michael R. McNulty (D-NY), was introduced today in the House.

Citing looming electric power shortages, record demand and ongoing environmental concerns, H Power CEO Frank Gibbard commented: "Enactment of this bill can sharply accelerate the adoption of residential fuel cells. At $1,000 per kilowatt, the proposed tax credit would rapidly make residential fuel cells an attractively priced alternative for millions of households. If adopted in sufficient numbers, fuel cells like H Power's residential cogeneration unit (RCU), can sharply reduce reliance on the electric grid, improve power quality and reliability, and diminish the need to build both conventional central-generating facilities powered by fossil fuels and the associated high-voltage transmission lines.
Steve Healy, chairman of ECO and CEO of Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, an electric cooperative based in Ellsworth, Wis., echoed Mr. Gibbard's sentiments: "Fuel cells are a promising means to deliver energy throughout rural America. By reducing the initial cost, this proposed tax credit would promptly make the fuel cell affordable to many of the millions of households represented by ECO. Demand from rural consumers will speed the kind of manufacturing efficiencies that will further reduce the price of fuel cells." As part of a 10-year H Power-ECO fuel cell distribution partnership, ECO has already agreed to purchase 12,300 H Power fuel cell systems worth an estimated $81 million. Deliveries of H Power's first residential cogeneration fuel cell units, able to supply all the electricity and much of the hot water needs of a typical household, are expected to begin sometime in the second half of this year.
In addition to units being tested by selected ECO customers, H Power residential fuel cell systems are currently being field-tested at various locations in the U.S., Canada, France, Finland and Japan. H Power's 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Monroe, North Carolina, is scheduled to start production of the units later this year.
A pioneer in fuel cell research and development since 1989, H Power now produces proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells, combining hydrogen (from propane or natural gas) and oxygen (from the air) to electrochemically generate electricity. PEM fuel cells are low-maintenance, reliable, highly efficient, environmentally friendly and quiet.
Other key markets H Power is currently targeting include back-up power for the telecommunications industry and backup and primary power for various portable electronic devices as a more efficient and reliable alternative to batteries.

About ECO

Energy Co-Opportunity (ECO) is an energy services cooperative established in 1998 to be the preferred provider of distributed energy solutions to the U.S. electric cooperative industry. ECO provides electric cooperatives with access to distributed generation technologies, including fuel cells, gas turbines and photovoltaics; access to alternative fuels such as propane and natural gas, and consulting, education and training in all aspects of energy diversification. ECO is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. For more information, go to www.e-coop.org.

About H Power Corp.

H Power Corp. is a leading fuel cell development company and one of the first providers to complete a commercial sale of a proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell system. PEM fuel cells generate electricity efficiently and cleanly from the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen is typically derived from conventional fuels such as natural gas or propane, and oxygen is drawn from the air. H Power's fuel cells are designed to provide electricity for a wide range of stationary, portable and mobile applications including residential cogeneration products for rural, remote homes, and backup power units for mobile applications.
For additional information, please visit our website at www.hpower.com.

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