Georgia Power “Solar Tax” Defeated
Energy Competition, Property Rights Prevail in Utility Rate Case
ATLANTA - November 18, 2013 – Georgia's solar energy businesses and consumers won an important victory today when the Georgia Public Service Commission (Commission) made public a new proposed agreement with the state’s monopoly utility, Georgia Power Co. In the new stipulation, Georgia Power dropped its proposed solar tax after experiencing overwhelming Commission and staff disapproval.
Georgia Power had petitioned the Commission to impose a new charge on customers who install and use solar energy systems at their homes, businesses and farms. This proposed charge would have amounted to a 45-55% tax on solar energy systems. Solar industry leaders had warned against the discriminatory tax, stating that it would prop up the monopoly utility at the expense of market competition and individual property rights.
“We are pleased that the Commission rejected Georgia Power's attempt to stop the natural growth of the solar industry in our state. The monopoly's proposal was anti-consumer, anti-innovation, and anti-free market. Thankfully a majority of commissioners and staff saw it for what it was, an ill-conceived tax increase. This is a real victory for individuals and businesses that want to use technology to regain some control over their energy bills,” said Jason Rooks for the Georgia Solar Energy Industries Association.
As solar energy has become more affordable and widely available, Georgians are increasingly generating their own power from the sun. In 2012, $18 million was invested to install solar on Georgia homes and businesses. There are currently more than 138 solar businesses supporting manufacturing and installation jobs throughout the state. In July, the Commission approved a plan to add 525 megawatts of new solar power by 2016, which makes Georgia one of the nation’s solar growth leaders.
Georgia Power had proposed the solar tax as part of an ongoing rate case. The Commission is expected to finalize the stipulation in the rate case by December 17.
About the Georgia Solar Energy Industries Association:
GASEIA is the Georgia chapter of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Visit GASEIA online at: www.gaseia.org