Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Want To Get Out Of Paying Utility Taxes On Electricity? Dump Edison and Get Solar Power

Ra - God of the Sun
Mod: This was forwarded to me by a resident late last week and I saved it for today. Pretty excited about it, actually. I was trying to come up with some special Sierra Madre reasons for firing big development happy Southern California Edison and replacing that expensive local energy monopoly with solar power. I came up with three pretty good ideas. The first comes courtesy of a California state law that allows you to avoid paying city utility taxes on electricity as long as it is generated on your own roof. Here is a very Sierra Madre-centric explanation from downtown:

The UUT was drafted to cover solar generated power.  However, the state law changed in 2013 and the Revenue & Taxation Code (Section 7284.5) now provides an exemption from UUT collection for electricity generated by a "clean energy resource" including a small solar roof top facility.  In short, it exempts a person's use of solar energy generated by their own solar panels on their house, but not from electricity generated by solar power owned by an electric corporation.  

Mod: This law is in place until 2020. Pretty cool, right? If you are not particularly crazy about paying UUT costs, here is how you can save money on electricity and avoid paying that annoying utility tax at the same time.

And then, of course, there are those near constant big utility rate hikes (link).


Solar Rights Act

This next one could help inoculate your home from being put into the shadows by someone building a McMansion next door to you. Called the Solar Rights Act, according to California state law nobody can put something humongous up next door to you that would block the sun from hitting your solar panels.

Does that sound like a solution to a certain problem we have seen too much of around here?

In other words, rooftop solar energy producers have a legal right to sunlight. Nobody can take that away from you. If you have solar panels on your home that would be blocked from the sun by some new two story building, you can do something about it. That is, if you have solar.

Here is how this one goes (link):


This is the third reason. It might be the best of all three because it costs nothing.

You do know that solar energy has been the darling of the Federal government for quite some time, right? But even the most ardent of such affairs often have a freshness dating that eventually runs out. Life can be like that.

As it stands now, solar energy installers have the ability to set you up with a system on your house at no cost. Or, to use another word, free. The way this is done through the use of Federal tax credits, which at the moment are at a full 30%. That is extremely good news. We all pay taxes, and here is one of those very rare opportunities where you can actually get something back.

These tax credits were designed to make solar energy accessible to everyone, and have succeeded in doing just that for hundreds of thousands of homeowners. There are a lot of people out there who would never have gone solar if they had to shell out $35,000 to get it. Instead they got Uncle Sugar to make that happen for them. Our very own red, white and blue Santa Claus.

The bad news? Those 30% Federal tax credits for solar energy go away on the last day of 2016. Which is almost exactly one year away. So if you've ever thought about getting out from under that $250 Edison bill you are currently paying, and vowed you'd do just that just as soon as you found the time, well, maybe the time is now? While you can get this done for nothing?

Three good reasons:

1) No utility taxes on solar produced electricity just as long as it is made on your roof.

2) Nobody can put something big and unpleasant up next door to you that would put your solar rooftop panels in the shade. Your legal right to the sun is protected by state law.

3) 30% tax credits make it possible to put solar on your roof at no cost. Instead of getting a bill from Edison, you would get a much lower bill from your new utility, which is the solar energy company you just contracted with. Permitting costs, installation, insurance, warranties, all of that gets covered by the tax credits. But remember, those 30% tax credits go away at the end of 2016.

I am working on a big solar energy project done in conjunction with one of the largest providers out there. With those very generous Federal tax credits going away I have one year to make this happen. Making Sierra Madre a solar town is a pretty cool project, and you should probably start the ball rolling now before dear old Uncle Sugar pulls the rug out from under all of this sunshine.

All you need is a good roof and a decent credit rating. If any of this sounds like it might work for you send me an e-mail at sierramadretattler@gmail.com. Or just click here.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

15 comments:

  1. You're still connected to "the grid" right?

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    1. Yes. During the day you produce more power than you consume, and that excess electricity is pumped onto the Edison grid where you rack up credits. If you have a meter that isn't a smart one you can watch it as it goes backwards. At night when the sun is down you draw on your credit to keep the lights on. California state law has turned the big utilities into batteries for people using solar. They're not very happy about it.

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  2. Just think, not long ago, city hall was charging $5,000 for a solar permit, Elaine must have talked to al gore about global warming. What a bunch of money hungry idiots.

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  3. If the comment is, your still connected to the grid? Yes you are but your receiving credit and not paying for So Cal Edison's wasteful spending operations and wages.

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    Replies
    1. A 100 year old energy monopoly is facing its first real challenge ever.

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  4. Will Edison reduce its rates to compete?

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    Replies
    1. Nah.
      Calif. Power Rates Go Up 80 Percent
      http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=93303&page=1

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  5. That sounds pretty good.

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  6. Do solar panels work in cold weather?

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    Replies
    1. Yes. Even where it snows. Though you'd probably have to clean them off on snow days.

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  7. Sounds like those of us living in Arcadia could use this argument to stop an aircraft carrier from being built next door. I had no idea it was against state law to block the sun. Thank you for the information!

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  8. The city changed the building permit for solar installation from "valuation" which of course was sky-high (an earlier post referenced to $5,000.00) to about $500.00 after a Southern California Sierra Club survey of ALL the counties and municipalities were surveyed (Northern California was surveyed already) with the goal of $0 for such permits (i.e. Redondo Beach).

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  9. Thank you Mr. Crawford ! Until you made this case, I had rejected Solar Panels for my home. Now I am seriously rethinking it :-).
    If you have an electric car that you charge during sunlight hours ,it gets even better.

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  10. Full disclosure, John, you are a salesman for a solar energy company. But everything you say is true so go forth and multiply solar for everyone.

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  11. Life is great, I qualify for solar tax breaks.
    I always wanted to be rich enough to buy my own house and get taxpayers to help improve it. Renting is for the stupid.

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