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Two solar companies are suing the Arizona Department of Revenue over its hotly-disputed decision to tax leased solar panels, an additional charge that would hit Arizona’s growing solar leasing industry. The first payments would be due from solar companies in October 15, and Bryan Miller, vice president of public policy and power markets for Sunrun Inc, say the additional cost to the companies will be passed along to the consumer.
Until last year, both owners and leasers of solar panels didn’t have to pay property taxes. Arizona’s fight over solar taxes is just one example of the outrage being felt in states around the country over new fees on solar. So, the Mass DOT is leasing 10 parcels of land next to state highways to a private company called Ameresco. Additionally, the 10 sites that are part of the plan today, Mass DOT is also looking at three other state-owned locations that could become solar farms in the future. Multiple award-winning journalist David Wade co-anchors WBZ-TV News at 5PM and 11PM with co-anchor Lisa Hughes, and Chief Meteorologist Eric Fisher. Sunmetrix is excited to announce the launch of the new and improved web application Discover, where homeowners can enter their postal code and, for free, learn all about the solar potential of their location, including the important financial considerations that go along with purchasing or leasing a solar energy system. We know that making the transition to solar energy is complicated by the immense volume of information out there, information that is not always accurate or requires the user to give their email address (so that they can be called by installers). Sunmetrix Discover first takes the homeowner through a quick overview of the solar potential of their location with a glimpse at the amount of energy the homeowner can produce and what that means in dollar terms when it comes to their current utility bill. When the homeowner is ready to take the next step, Discover takes them through the Buy or Lease Calculator so that they can determine the best way to finance their system.
It is our goal to make going solar simple and painless because we want as many homeowners as possible to make the transition to solar (where it makes financial sense!) and with Sunmetrix Discover they get the information they need.
But after the state Department of Revenue reviewed the state’s law and decided that “leased panels are more like merchant power plants and should pay property taxes like them,” that changed, causing significant backlash from solar supporters in the state.


Utah’s main utility recently proposed a new monthly $4.25 fee on its residential solar customers, a group of solar users that’s growing rapidly in the state.
That firm will build and operate small solar farms on the sites, which means no taxpayer dollars are in play.
Another five locations, including Salisbury and Stockbridge, could come on line by the fall. As with the initial version of Discover, the goal of Sunmetrix is to provide a one-stop resource that takes the homeowner through all the pertinent solar information in a fun, useful and accurate manner, without requiring them to give their email address or phone number. Playing around with the system specifications and changing the numbers from their default values, which are taken from state averages, users can see the impact immediately.
Discover lays out the numbers so homeowners can see when their investment will pay off and what their savings will amount to over the lifetime of their system, 20-25 years on average.
Currently, we leave it in the hands of the homeowner to determine which installers they wish to contact. Solar companies like SolarCity and Sunrun were worried about the burden the additional tax would impose on their customers who lease solar panels, who are often middle-class people who want solar energy but can’t afford to buy an array. And last week, Arizona solar advocate Lesley Lillywhite delivered a petition to “Protect solar energy” with more than 3,100 signatures to Gov. Oklahoma, too, announced this year that it will charge customers who get their energy from solar panels or small wind turbines on their property. Homeowners can take control of the process while they learn about solar energy and experiment with different solar systems for their home. Moreover, fine-tuning the energy consumption value, by imputing the true consumption from their current utility bill, allows homeowners to truly appreciate the financial benefits of solar energy. In the future, we intend to build partnerships with manufacturers and installers so that we can offer special deals, rebates and promotions to our users.


This tax on leased solar panels would result in $152 extra in property taxes for the first year of a homeowner’s leased $34,000 solar-panel array, a charge that would decrease each year as the value of the array goes down. And where solar energy does not make financial sense, either due to low electricity prices or location weather conditions, Sunmetrix tells the homeowner. While Discover is free and fully functional for all users, homeowners who want to be emailed a copy of their free report do need to provide their email address (however, as with the initial version of Discover, Sunmetrix does not share email addresses with a third party without the user’s consent).
For larger, commercial arrays, the taxes will be higher — a leased 80-kilowatt, $360,000 system would carry a $1,615 charge its first year, and a 250-kilowatt system would be charged $4,485.
Moreover, virtually anyone who is willing to lease solar panels can have them installed professionally for no cost.
The first step to get solar panels on your home, though, is to make sure installing them actually saves you money on electricity.
Recently, you can even buy complete home solar panel installation kits online from 400 watts up to 7500 watts and higher. Even that small of a system might be pushing it insofar as getting back the money you invested in energy cost savings.
However, if you plan on expanding and using it as a solar starter kit, then it’s a good starting point, then you can add more panels whenever you can.



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