(PHOENIX) The conservative belief that higher taxes harm productivity and the economy has certainly been borne out by the Salt River Project’s $50 a month tax on new rooftop solar customers. Since the tax went into effect only 75 residential customers have signed up for solar in the utility’s service area according to SRP’s review of its records from December 8, 2014 to April 15, 2015 and pursuant to a public records request.
Prior to the tax there were about 500 residential solar installations per month in the SRP service area. Had that pace continued there would have been more than 2,200 solar installs instead of 75 between December 8th and April 15th.
SRP starting imposing the $50 a month fee on new residential rooftop solar customers on December 8, 2014. SRP’s Governing Board formally approved it February 26th despite massive opposition from ratepayers. In fact a poll taken prior to the vote showed 80% of those surveyed in SRP’s service area opposing the tax.
The decision basically makes going solar too confusing and too costly. The miniscule number of new solar customers is proof.
In December, the Arizona Republic stated in an editorial that, “Claims that SRP's proposed rates would doom the solar industry are specious, certainly at this early point.” Now that the solar tax has been in effect for several months, the solar industry’s predictions have been proven correct.
TUSK chairman Barry Goldwater said, "I have repeatedly stated that the quickest way to kill an industry is to tax it and regulate it. If it was SRP’s goal to leverage its advantage as a monopoly to force a competitor out of business, then it accomplished its mission much to the detriment of its ratepayers and the local economy. And I am embarrassed to say the proposal was supported by some in the Arizona Republican Party.”
To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit www.dontkillsolar.com. T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence means smaller profits for the utilities, so they are doing everything they can to stop the spread of independent solar.