Iowa Supreme Court Decision Boosts Renewable Energy Development

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A recent Iowa Supreme Court decision may give a boost to small-scale renewable energy development in that state. On July 11, the court issued its opinion in SZ Enterprises, LLC vs. Iowa Utilities Board (link to decision), determining that a third-party power purchase agreement for behind-the-meter generation is not subject to regulation as a “public utility” or “electric utility” under the Iowa Code.

Eagle Point Solar (Eagle Point) and the City of Dubuque had proposed to enter into a power purchase agreement, pursuant to which Eagle Point would have installed, owned and operated a solar generation system on the roof of a city-owned building. The city would buy the output of the system on a per-kWh basis for use by the city on its side of the meter.

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WTO Rules U.S. Countervailing Duties on Solar Panels Violate Global Trade Rules

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled Monday that U.S. countervailing duties imposed on a range of Chinese products, including solar panels, violated global trade rules by imposing punitive import duties.

Monday’s ruling by the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) stems from China’s August 20, 2012, request for the DSB to formally establish a panel to hear China’s grievances with the U.S.-imposed countervailing duties.   Continue reading this entry

1-3 MW Solar RFP Issued in Palo Alto, California

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The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 1-3 MW (AC) in order to create a CPAU-branded Community Solar Program.

The CPAU has stated that its primary objectives for such program are to help facilitate reaching the City of Palo Alto’s target of meeting 4% of its energy needs from local solar energy by 2023 (from 0.7% in 2013), and to give all CPAU customers – including those who rent and those without sufficient solar access – the opportunity to experience and derive benefit from cost-effective local solar development. Continue reading this entry

NY Property Tax Exemption Extension for Renewable Systems

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The New York legislature has passed a bill that extends a real property tax exemption for wind, solar and certain other energy systems until January 1, 2025. The bill provides that real property which includes an eligible energy system is exempt from certain real property taxes for a period of fifteen years, to the extent of any increase in assessed value of the property due to the system. Local governments are permitted to opt out of being required to allow the exemption. The bill was introduced, in part, due to urging by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).  Continue reading this entry

California Senate and Assembly Vote to Extend Property Tax Exclusion for Solar

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In furtherance of California’s commitment to renewable solar energy, the California Senate and Assembly recently passed Senate Bill 871 (SB 871) which, if signed, would extend the sunset date on the existing property tax exclusion for newly constructed solar energy systems from January 1, 2017, to January 1, 2025.

Generally, California’s Constitution limits ad valorem taxes on real property to 1% of the “full cash value” of that property. For purposes of this limitation, “full cash value” is defined as the assessor’s valuation of real property as shown on the 1975–76 tax bill under “full cash value” or, thereafter, the appraised value of that real property when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership has occurred. As a result, much of the new solar construction California has seen would result in an increase to property taxes for the underlying real property.  Continue reading this entry