- The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) resumed its attack on solar incentives that differ from net energy metering, declaring the just-passed Minnesota Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) could create “serious instability.” The net energy metering incentive is crucial to the third party ownership finance model of the companies that back TASC.
- TASC said: The VOST ‘buy-all, sell-all’ arrangement could make the solar-generated electricity taxable and make system owners ineligible for the investment tax credit (ITC), the VOST arrangement means system owners cannot consume the electricity their systems generate, and the VOST leaves utilities effectively in control.
John Farrell, who was instrumental in getting Minnesota’s VOST over the state’s legislative and regulatory hurdles, defended it. His remarks echoed arguments made to this reporter by former Texas regulator Karl Rabago, who wrote the first U.S. VOST as an exec at Austin Energy:
- Regulators, not utilities, have the last word in how solar is valued. Minnesota’s PUC required the state’s utilities to choose between the VOST and net energy metering.
- TASC’s legal opinion on the tax issues is not conclusive. If solar system owners become ineligible for the personal ITC, for instance, they become eligible for the business ITC and depreciation, which could be nearly as valuable.
- The TASC-advocated net energy metering incentive has already proven a threat to solar stability because utilities are attacking it across the country, claiming it rewards solar owners beyond solar’s value.