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‘Conservative’ Group Promoting Higher Taxes On Solar Panel Owners

solar panel installationHomeowners that generate their own electricity would have to pay more if a self-proclaimed “conservative” group gets its ways. A utility industry-backed group called the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC is pushing legislation designed to punish homeowners and small businesses that take advantage of off-the-grid electricity, The Guardian is reporting.

If ALEC is successful, homeowners who own solar panels would actually have to pay to feed electricity into the grid, the group’s legislative analyst, John Eick, told The Guardian. ALEC also wants to cut the rates that utilities pay homeowners for electricity and eliminate tax credits for alternative energy. The group is pushing its agenda on the state and federal level.

Specifically, the group is targeting solar panels that are tied to the grid and not free-standing ones.

“As it stands now, those direct generation customers are essentially free riders on the system,” Eick said. “They are not paying for the infrastructure they are using. In effect, all the other non-direct generation customers are being penalized.”

The group held a summit in Washington, DC, Dec. 4-6, with some of the nation’s leading conservatives speaking: Senators Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) and Ted Cruz (Texas), Representative Paul Ryan (Wisconsin), and Governors Mike Pence (Indiana) and Matt Mead (Wyoming). It is not known if the speakers support all of the ALEC’s goals.

Campaign Against Off the Grid Energy Planned

Those who take advantage of off the grid energy should take notice, because ALEC is waging a nationwide campaign against self-generated electricity. The campaign is already under way and it appears to be well-funded.

Harness the power of the sun when the power goes out…

“They are trying to eliminate pro-solar policies in the states to protect utility industry profits,” Gabe Elsner, the director of the Energy Policy Institute, said of ALEC. The Guardian revealed some of the details of ALEC’s campaign including:

  • The group is using opposition to President Obama’s attempt to use clean air regulations to cut green gases to cover its anti-off the grid agenda.
  • ALEC has supported at least 77 bills in 34 state legislatures in the last year.
  • In Arizona, the state legislature passed an ALEC-sponsored a bill that allows the state to add $5 to the electric bills of those who install solar panels.
  • Utilities in Arizona wanted to charge homeowners solar panels an extra $100 a month under the proposal
  • ALEC wants homeowners that generate their own electricity to pay all the costs of transmitting the electricity through the grid. That would make it cost prohibitive for individuals to install solar panels or other home generation systems.

Homeowners and small businesses should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity they generate, Eick said.

“How are they going to get that electricity from their solar panel to somebody else’s house?” he said. “They should be paying to distribute the surplus electricity.”

So far, ALEC is receiving pushback from Republicans and Democrats in several states where they are pushing their agenda, The Guardian said.

ALEC Wants Unlimited Fracking

ALEC also wants to stop the EPA from regulating fracking. The organization has proposed legislation that would make it illegal for the EPA to shut down fracking operations or limit fracking operations in anyway even if the operations contaminated water. Off The Grid News recently reported that fracking has been linked to dozens of earthquakes nationwide.

It looks like utilities are fighting back against the off-grid electricity and the threat that it poses to their bottom lines. Big utilities, it seems, don’t like the idea of households generating their own electricity, especially with government data showing that electricity rates already are expected to go up 51 percent in coming years.

People who generate their own electricity might have to get politically active and call their state and federal legislators.

© 2008-2014 Off The Grid News

6 comments

  1. This isn’t a conservative group. Conservatives believe in less government and lower taxes. This group, I believe is being run by power company execs. They are seeing their strangle hold slipping away and are tying to stem the tide.

  2. Just more “STUFF from the powers-that-be looking for more ways to control us.

    They are about as “conservative” as Obummer.

  3. I’m amazed at the folks who continue to blame conservatives for this type of crap. I had actually hoped that the cost of solar would come down to an affordable level, under O-blame-ya, but I knew it probably wouldn’t. Not only did it not come down, but he gave millions to solar companies, who immediately went belly up. No, it’s not conservatives. We want free markets that work. Still waiting for affordable solar, in an unaffordable world. Now send in the IRS to audit me.

  4. When I lived in Texas my electricity was less than half of my electric bill when I moved to California and I was using less power in California. For that reason and because of the 8%-12% yearly increase in electricity prices over the past 20+ years in California I put in a grid connected 8KW solar system over 5 years ago. These price increases in California were because the state of California with all its crazy environmentalist demonized drilling for more oil including fracking, nuclear energy, diesel cars, windmills because they kill birds, hydro power because they think it kills fish and even solar farms in the Mohave desert because they might affect lizards and toads. You can’t win with these idiots.
    The total cost of my system was 64K, but then I got a California rebate of over $15K and a 30% federal income tax deduction which reduced my total cost to $36K. But who do you think paid for that $28K subsidy? You got it – the American tax payer (or the 50% who pay taxes) got screwed and they didn’t even get to use the electricity. Who subsidized Solyndra with over a ½ billion? You got it – the American tax payer who got screwed again! Not to mention the toxicity of making solar panels, but of course most of these are made overseas where they can pollute without repercussions. You think solar panels are green? Think again.
    Now PG&E wants to start charging me to have the “privilege” of being connected to the grid. So these liberal politicians talk out one side of their mouth about all this “green” energy but out of the other side they want to tax you to death and get in bed with the utility companies.
    All subsidies are wrong and need to be phased out, whether solar, wine makers, pharmaceuticals, dairy farmers, farmers who get paid for letting their land go fallow etc. Subsidies create unnatural markets. Let the free markets determine the price of goods instead of forcing people to buy things. Did Steve Jobs have to get subsidies to sell the iPhone? The free market sucked that idea up big time.
    So now I’ll probably have to get battery backup and go off the grid if this tax goes through just to spite these folks, but don’t be deceived that “green” is cheaper or more environmentally friendly. Let the free markets determine what sells and what doesn’t sell and get the government and all their burdensome regulations the hell out of our lives!

  5. im not where all these completely off-grid alternatives are easy but i do a few things that do make a difference. i prefer the sunlight to come into my reading or workspace, that costs nothing. i keep my heating low by setting thermostat low and not having large over $250 bills in the winter. and supplementing with portable electric heaters as neded. yes, electric goes up but our bodies need warmth. i think the california land grab of antelope valley needs to be shut off and down. it is eminent domain without even paying reasonable price for stealing private property. maybe we should start mining our driveway with ied’s to help the nuisance teams to see who is the nuisance (they are). i try to limit water usage as it is truly an important need to have the freshwater.

  6. It doesn’t cost the utility company anything to push my electricity throught the grid, my generator does that all by itself! So shouldn’t they purchase my electricity at retail rates and shouldn’t I be compensated for their ability to down size their equipment because of my efficiency in producing excess Kwh’s?

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