Solar power installations in Utah are far outpacing previous years, raising concerns within the state government about the cost of solar incentives, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
About 7,700 Utah residents signed up for Rocky Mountain Power's net metering program between January and June, the Tribune reports, up from 3,200 net metering customers at the end of 2015.
Even though the state’s residential solar tax credit is capped at $2,000 per system or 25% of the cost, the flood of applications could end up costing the state $42 million.
Utah is experiencing a boom in residential solar power, but those incentives could expire shortly under recently passed legislation that directs state regulators to end the Utah solar incentive program and surcharge tariff, and allow Rocky Mountain Power to stop accepting new applications for the solar incentive program by the end of December 2016.
The Governor's Office of Energy Development (GOED) told lawmakers recently that Utah is projected to process more than 12,000 applications for residential solar tax credits this year.
Rooftop solar power has grown steadily in Utah since about 2012, but nothing like what Utah has seen in the past six or seven months, Jeffrey Barrett, GOED deputy director, told the Tribune. "The growth curve is basically vertical right now. It's a remarkable time for this industry."
Barrett told the paper, "We're looking at a program that's going to have a significant impact on the budget going forward if changes aren't made. I would be surprised if changes weren't proposed."
Barrett predicted changes to the state program would not affect the trend because the federal tax credits, which can cover up to 30% of a residential solar installation, locked in for several years.