Originally published on Solar Love.
Last year, the South Carolina legislature passed Act 236, landmark legislation that enabled third-party solar leasing and established rules for equitable net metering rates within the state. According to the Coastal Conservation League,
“Utilities, solar businesses, and conservation groups reached a settlement agreement in December on how rooftop solar will be treated for the foreseeable future in South Carolina. The settlement agreement is a critical step forward in implementing Act 236.
“Under the settlement, residential and commercial utility customers that install solar panels on their rooftops before 2021 will receive full retail credit for any excess power that flows back onto the electric grid and will be eligible to remain on this rate until December 31, 2025 without any solar-specific charges or fees.”
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 and implement the provisions of Act 236.
But the benefits available to South Carolina citizens pursuant to Act 236 could be in danger if the legislature does not pass Senate Bill 626 in the few weeks remaining before it adjourns. That bill would exempt rooftop solar systems from property tax assessments by the counties within the state. In some cases, tax increases could eat up 50% of the rebate paid by Duke Energy to homeowners who install rooftop solar systems pursuant to the settlement agreement.
“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.”
The only interested parties opposed to Senate Bill 626 are county governments.
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, and Verengo.
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