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House Approves Bill To Scrap Solar Subsidies

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A bill to phase out the state’s tax credit for residential solar panel installations passed the Utah House on Monday.

House Bill 23 would end the state’s $2000 individual income tax credit by 2021.  Republican Representative Jeremy Peterson sponsored the bill. He said the tax credit is draining the state budget.

“It is expected that the cost of technology will actually decrease at the same rate of this tax credit,” Peterson said. “So consumers should not see a significant impact on the bottom line in trying to determine whether or not to make that purchase.”

Peterson said Utah’s solar industry is growing 200 to 300 percent year over year.

Democratic State Representative Joel Briscoe voted against the bill. He said fossil fuel industries continue to outpace renewable energy industries in government subsidies.

“It’s 7 to 1 for every dollar we spent on trying to promote renewable energy, we spent $7 promoting oil, natural gas and coal,” Briscoe said. “And no one is talking about taking subsidies off oil, natural gas and coal.”

Solar advocates say the industry will likely be able to absorb the loss, but there are still concerns as Rocky Mountain Power looks to raise rates on solar customers. The Public Service Commission will review the rate change request in August.

House Bill 23 passed with a vote of 60-14. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.  

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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