California passes law that prevents cities from taxing energy generated by solar rooftop projects

Authored by and submitted by solar-cabin

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law last week financial protections for consumer investments in rooftop solar energy. The law, AB 1208 authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), extends a prohibition on cities and counties taxing the energy generated by rooftop solar panels for use by homeowners and businesses.

“We applaud Governor Newsom and Assemblymember Ting for protecting consumers’ right to generate their own energy from the sun without unfair taxes,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, Executive Director of the California Solar & Storage Association, sponsor of AB 1208. “Reducing costs, eliminating red tape, and encouraging consumers to go solar are all critical components of meeting California’s ambitious clean energy goals.”

Cities and counties have the ability to tax utility services, such as electricity, as one potential source of local revenues. Since 2013, the energy generated by rooftop solar panels has been explicitly exempt from what is called the “Utility Users Tax” or “UUT.” That pre-existing exemption was set to expire December 31, 2019. AB 1208 extended it another seven years.

“I’m proud to champion a bill that maintains California’s position as a leader in promoting renewable energy, which helps the effort to clean our air and fight climate change. The Governor’s signature keeps customer-owned clean energy affordable and will keep encouraging the use of greener power to reduce our carbon emissions,” said Assemblymember Ting.

At a time when the state has set ambitious clean energy goals, AB 1208 ensures that local governments do not create counter-productive disincentives to homeowners and businesses considering investments in clean energy. The law also provides consumers that have already invested in solar energy with the assurance that cities and counties will not tax their solar energy in the future.

“I’m thrilled to see California take this decisive step toward protecting a homeowner’s most basic clean energy right,” said Dave Rosenfeld, Executive Director of Solar Rights Alliance, a statewide association of California solar users. “Just like growing your own carrots and avoiding sales taxes, if you put the sunlight that falls on your roof or property to your own use, you shouldn’t have to pay a tax either.”

The bill faced little controversy since it was introduced in May. It passed both the State Assembly and Senate with unanimous support.

krato- on September 10th, 2019 at 16:06 UTC »

I work on the incoming smart grid for a major utility provider. I personally agree there should not be taxes on solar rooftops but do be mindful it's extremely expensive and cost intensive to handle excess power supply. Batteries to handle that kind of things are expensive but managing the grid with such an eb and flow of power demand and supply also requires an advanced grid infrastructure and that's hyper expensive.

Regardless taxes don't pay for any of this. Your utlility bill does. If anything they should be subsidizing not taxing this initiative.

enwongeegeefor on September 10th, 2019 at 13:56 UTC »

I'm in a city that considers itself "Super green" in the midwest (Ann Arbor), and the local council here basically approved assessing solar panels at an INSANE rate into the local property taxes. There was a bill to prevent this bullshit from going through but our assclown gov at the time vetoed it...did I mention he lives in a million dollar penthouse in downtown Ann Arbor?

So if you DO get solar panels in this city, whatever you would have saved in energy costs goes into the city tax coffers instead as profit for the city. It's litterally a penalty for getting solar here...and it's fucking ridiculous.

Same piece of shit city council has repeatedly approved over $300k in bullshit "art" installations which have all been extremely over priced and are all fucking jokes. They razed a bunch of trees to put up giant glass panels with PICTURES OF TREES on them...2 of the panels were shattered within a month by vandals...which cost almost $80k each to replace. We got a "fountain" that cost over $100k (edit: it was $750k) that stopped working the first week it was installed and was never fixed (10 years now, still doesn't work). They put in THIS fucking bullshit, which is not only a fuckin safety hazard (it's installed right along a sidewalk that people jog and bike along), it cost over $100k and it's literally just squares of folded aluminum that fuckface didn't even mirror polish like he said he would in the proposal...

edit: Adding links with pictures in them so y'all can see some of this bullshit.

Trpepper on September 10th, 2019 at 13:12 UTC »

Shouldn’t citizens be getting paid instead if they generate a surplus?