Solar, Wind Power

Exit Fee Decision Expected Thursday

With a big decision expected from the California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday, March 13, the national trade group for the solar industry continues to urge its California members and supporters of clean energy to continue their powerful grassroots efforts to keep California at the forefront of promoting clean energy.

Washington, D.C. – March 12, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The CPUC is scheduled to announce on Thursday whether it will adopt a proposal to tax every kilowatt of solar power produced by the state’s homeowners, businesses and farmers. The Commission could instead announce that pollution-free solar power would be exempt from such “exit fees.” “California has been leading the nation in promoting greater use of solar power,” said Glenn Hamer, executive director of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The wrong decision by the CPUC would be a blow to the will of the people of California and a blow to the environment.” In the last month, more than 7,000 Californians have protested the proposed tax on solar power, through a barrage of emails, faxes and live testimony before the CPUC at their February 27 meeting. In addition, the Sierra Club, California League of Conservation Voters and Union of Concerned Scientists have all expressed opposition to the proposal. Several of the CPUC Commissioners have commented publicly that the grass roots reaction has been impressive and is influencing their understanding of the issues at stake. “The people of California have forcefully and respectfully let the Commissioners know how important solar power is to California’s future, and the good news is, the Commissioners seem to be listening,” Hamer said. “We hope the CPUC on Thursday reaffirms California’s commitment to a cleaner environment and energy independence, by announcing no punitive tax on clean energy production in the Golden State.” Several members of Congress from California signed a letter to the CPUC Commissioners Monday urging that emissions-free technologies such as solar and small wind systems be exempt from the user fee tax, in order to keep California on a path to cleaner energy.