Last week The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC), along with Duke Energy, the Office of Regulatory Staff, and other clean energy stakeholders, reached a settlement agreement to help bring more solar to the people of South Carolina. This agreement represents a significant milestone in the implementation of the legislature’s landmark solar legislation, Act 236, which unanimously passed last year. However, both last week’s settlement agreement and the success of Act 236 are at risk if the legislature fails to pass Senate Bill 626 – a property tax fix bill – in the few weeks remaining in session.
Senate Bill 626, sponsored by Senator Greg Gregory, grants a property tax exemption to homeowners who have solar systems on their rooftops. In some counties, the property tax increase for those who invest in home solar could amount to as much as 50% of the rebate that Duke will offer its customers pursuant to last week’s settlement agreement. Solar stakeholders, conservation interests, and utilities all support SB 626. Opposition is limited to county governments.
“Currently, counties in South Carolina do not collect property taxes on residential solar. SB 626 simply codifies existing practice in the state,” said Tyson Grinstead, Senior Manager of Public Policy at Sunrun, Inc. “The solar industry can’t count on counties to maintain their current, discretionary practice. We need a permanent solution that businesses can use to set accurate expectations for homeowners. We don’t want homes or businesses to be hit with unexpected tax hikes because they invested in solar.”
Since 2010, the solar industry added over 80,000 new jobs to the US economy. South Carolina’s leaders want to see the solar industry grow in the Palmetto State, especially after passing last year’s landmark solar legislation. The goals put forward in Act 236 are on the cusp of becoming a reality. The last step is an easy tax fix supported by utilities, solar companies, and conservation advocates alike.
About the Alliance for Solar Choice:
The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) leads rooftop solar advocacy across the country. Founded by the largest rooftop companies in the nation, TASC represents the vast majority of the market. Its members include: Demeter Power, Geostellar Inc., SolarCity, Solar Universe, Sunrun, Verengo.