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Health, Science & Environment

Rooftop Solar Booms As Lawmakers Review Tax Credit

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Solar jobs are growing exponentially in Utah. In 2015 there were around 2,900, but there could be as many as 3,800 by the end of the year, according to the Utah Solar Energy Association.

Ryan Evans is actually looking forward to what would normally a pretty dull legislative meeting this month, when the Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee  reviews the state’s $2,000 solar-panel tax credit. Evans is the new leader of the Utah Solar Energy Association, and he’s excited about sharing the good news his industry has for Utah’s economy.

"For a $20 million investment, as an example, we're going to get over $300 million invested into our economy in the state of Utah. That's great payback on a state incentive.”

But, with the solar industry booming in Utah, lawmakers are expected to take a hard look at continuing a state tax credit for homeowners who install solar panels.

State officials are estimating they’ll get about 12,000 applications this year for the tax credit. And they’re worried the solar incentive will cost too much.

Evans even says he wouldn’t be surprised to see legislation next year to limit the tax credit as rooftop solar expands and disrupts how we get energy.

“Where there is change, there's going to be growing pains,” he says. “And I think right now, on the utility side and on the solar industry side, it's just going to take some time to work out those growing pains.”

Evans says the solar industry is projected to grow by 25 percent this year. And, by the end of 2016, the industry is expected to employ as many as 3,800 hundred people.

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