The Senate approved a package Tuesday to extend $17 billion to $18 billion in tax credits to increase investment in the renewable energy industry.

The energy legislation extends for eight years, through 2016, investment tax credits for the solar power industry and for homeowners who install solar and wind equipment, the

Associated Press

reports.

Benefiting from passage of the bill are solar power companies,

Reuters

reports. The delay in extending the tax credits has hurt those stocks in 2008. The Senate was seen as the biggest roadblock after it shot down the extension of the bill eight times this year.

The House must still vote on continuing the renewable energy tax credits, and the White House said Tuesday it would support the measure.

The oil industry would pay higher taxes to cover the costs of the tax breaks,

Reuters

reports.