Sun May Be Setting On Utah's Solar Energy Tax Credit

House Bill 23 would phase out current $2000 incentive over the next five years

Salt Lake City - SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah News) - The sun could soon be setting on Utah's solar tax credit.

In 2002 the legislature approved a $2000 tax credit for anyone adding rooftop solar panels to their home. Now a bill sponsored by Representative Jeremy Peterson (R) would take that incentive away.

"House Bill 23 creates a phase out of the rooftop solar tax credit that consumers benefit from currently," Rep. Peterson said Tuesday. "The industry has seen tremendous growth. It has been doubling and tripling year over year so the legislature thought it was time to reduce that tax credit and phase it out over time because it affects our education budget."

The bill would reduce the credit by $400 a year over the next five years until it's gone in 2022. It's supported by the solar industry, according to Ryan Evans, President of the Utah Solar Energy Association.

"It is becoming more affordable," Evans told ABC4 Utah News. "Because it's becoming more affordable on a regular basis, that's why we could live with a slower phase out of the credit recognizing that the Utah consumer won't be as affected in the future."

But members of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee could not even agree if solar energy reduces our air pollution.

"Solar will help the health of Utah," Rep. Joel Briscoe (D) stated in Tuesday's hearing.

"This does not help us breathe better, the more solar we have," Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R) countered. "That just doesn't affect our air. I wish it did but it doesn't."

The bill passed the Committee by a 10-2 vote, the nay votes coming from Democrats Joel Briscoe and Brian King.

"I am annoyed at the degree to which we as a matter of public policy in the state of Utah have really been backward on solar," Rep. King said. "I look at neighboring states, Colorado particularly and they are so far beyond us in how they treat renewable energy."

The bill still needs to pass the full House and the Senate.

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