Utah governor signs pair of solar bills
- Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has signed two pieces of legislation expected to benefit the solar industry, including Senate Bill 141, which provides a two-year extension of a $1,600 tax credit for residential installations.
- The other measure, Senate Bill 157, requires solar companies to provide residential customers with a disclosure statement that summarizes key terms in an agreement.
- The Solar Energy Industries Association applauded the legislation. The disclosure statements were modeled on the group's standardized disclosure forms, developed to help inform customers. Three other states have adopted similar measures.
SEIA says it wants customers to understand their solar agreements, and have also convinced lawmakers in Florida, Nevada and New Mexico, to pass legislation requiring similar disclosure forms.
The tax credit legislation provides a two-year extension of a $1,600 tax credit for Utah customers who adopt solar systems. Beginning in 2021, the credit will be gradually phased down until it is eliminated at the end of 2023. But SEIA officials said it will provide "much-needed stability as the industry adapts to recently restructured solar rates for homeowners."
Utah has 1,599 MW of cumulative solar capacity installed, making it the eighth-largest among states. According to SEIA, the solar industry employs 6,170 workers in Utah, with the workforce growing by 40% in 2017. However, it remains to be seen if the state will continue to see robust growth among installers after Trump passed tariffs on solar equipment imports. SEIA estimates 23,000 new solar jobs will be lost this year.
Two years ago, Utah experienced a spike in residential installations. About 7,700 Utah residents signed up for Rocky Mountain Power's net metering program between January and June, a jump from 3,200 net metering customers at the end of 2015.
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