SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to puts into law a complicated compromise eked out among the solar industry, clean energy advocates and Rocky Mountain Power on rooftop solar tax credits cleared a legislative committee Wednesday.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, is sponsoring SB141 to institutionalize what he described as a "grand compromise" among the players in an intense and protracted battle shaping the destiny of rooftop solar systems in Utah.
Bramble's measure, which he said will be substituted with minor tweaks, details the timeline for phasing out solar tax credits, extending their life per the agreement. It passed in the Senate Business and Labor Committee.
Purchasers of rooftop solar systems between Jan. 1, 2007, and Dec. 31, 2017, will receive the $2,000 state tax credit if it has not already been claimed on tax returns.
After that, the tax credit decreases to $1,600 for systems purchased after Jan. 1, 2018, and on or before December 2020. The tax credit continues to decrease in increments until it is reduced to $400 in 2023.
The net metering compromise, endorsed last October by the Public Service Commission, preserves status quo rates for thousands of rooftop solar customers in the state.
Under a cap set for Nov. 15, 2017, net metering customers with systems in place or in the application process with Rocky Mountain Power will continue to receive the same type of energy credits for their solar production through 2035.1 comment on this story
An export credit would be applied to those customers who came on after that cap date.
In 2016, the controversy over rooftop solar tax credits garnered lawmakers' attention after a review of their impacts to the education fund predicted a $60 million hit if some action wasn't taken to decrease the amount refunded to taxpayers.
The Public Service Commission, solar advocates and Rocky Mountain Power are continuing to work through additional implications of the solar industry on energy rates and environmental consequences, with a cost-benefit analysis that will be crafted.