Grass Roots Conservatives Battle Solar Tax in AZ

March 4, 2014

See if this doesn’t make your head spin.

goldwaterjrOur Co-Chairman, Barry Goldwater Jr.

“As a son of Arizona, I know we have no greater resource than the sun. Republicans want the freedom to make the best choice and the competition to drive down rates.That choice may mean they save money, and with solar that is the case. Solar companies have a track record of aggressively reducing costs in America. We can’t let solar energy – and all its advantages and benefits it provides us – be pushed aside by monopolies wanting to limit energy choice. That’s not the conservative way and it’s not the American way.”

Our Co-Chairman Tom Morrissey

“Conservatives who support school choice and healthcare choice should join me in supporting energy choice. As conservatives, we are morally obligated to fight new tax proposals. Monopoly utilities request to end net metering amounts to a tax on solar savings. It also seeks to line the pockets of a regulated monopoly through government intervention. I am proud to join Barry Goldwater Jr. in leading the charge towards more energy competition and private investment.”



(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) After failing to convince the Arizona Corporation Commission to impose a $50 a month surcharge on rooftop solar customers, the empire is trying to strike back.

Arizona Public Service is working to convince Arizona lawmakers to make permanent a new property tax on solar customers who lease their systems. Approximately 80% of homeowners in Arizona lease their solar systems. If allowed, this tax would make it more difficult for home and business owners to save money by installing solar and it would undermine the state’s solar industry which is currently the only competition that the state’s energy monopolies have. Despite spending millions of dollars and funneling money through shady front groups to promote their proposed $50-$100 per month solar surcharge, APS’ efforts exploded like the Death Star. But that’s not stopping them from trying again. A lobbyist with close ties to APS is pushing the passage of HB2595 which codifies a bizarre change in Arizona taxation laws that imposes a property tax only on customers who lease their solar systems.

And while APS continues to deny ties to attempts to make the tax permanent, it should be noted that last year APS denied claims that it was involved in third-party anti-solar campaigns. Those claims turned out not to be true by APS’ own admission. So can we really trust the claims that they’re making now about not trying to undermine the solar industry yet again?

APS’ anti solar efforts have already had a negative impact on the Arizona economy. The number of people employed in the solar energy industry in Arizona fell by more than 1,200 in 2013 according to a report issued by The Solar Foundation. The Foundation says APS’ anti-solar efforts likely played a role in that job loss.

T.U.S.K. (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) was formed to stand up for energy choice and solar savings. TUSK Co-Chairman Barry Goldwater Jr. stated, “What part of ‘Don’t tax the sun’ does APS not understand? It’s obvious our work as far from over as this utility monopoly looks for new ways tax a competitor out of the market.”

To learn more about T.U.S.K. visit

T.U.S.K. believes that rooftop solar is similar to a charter school—it provides a competitive alternative to the monopoly. Monopoly utilities aren’t known for reducing costs or for driving business innovation, but the Arizona solar industry is. Solar companies have a track record of aggressive cost reduction in Arizona. The more people use rooftop solar, the less power they need to buy from the utilities. Energy independence for Arizonans means smaller profits for the utilities, so APS is doing everything it can to stop the spread of independent solar.

35 Responses to “Grass Roots Conservatives Battle Solar Tax in AZ”

  1. adelady Says:

    The whole idea is just silly. All they have to do is to work out the “connected” cost for everyone and show the regular bills as two separate amounts. This means that whether people reduce their demand from the grid by solar generation or by retrofitting houses to need less power, the distributor still gets the set amount needed to maintain the network. That’s the system we have here. My last account was $3.63 credit net balance – pretty good since we’d given the air conditioner a good workout during the billing period.

    It’s exactly the same model as we use for water and sewerage and gas. There’s a fee for having the connection and a separate charge for actual water or gas used.

    The only way to pay nothing at all, ever, is to go off-grid entirely but then you lose the benefit of loading your surplus generation into the grid and getting paid for it. We just use the grid as a giant battery – and seeing as 25-30% of our state’s power comes from wind, it’s a pretty good bargain. (They’re building a couple more windfarms. Pretty soon they’re going to have to come up with ways to dump surplus power. My suspicion is that they’ll just run the desalination plant and top up the reservoirs regardless of the water levels. This state is never, ever going to have a problem with too much water storage, we’d just stop taking water from the Murray.)

  2. […] 2014/03/04: PSinclair: Grass Roots Conservatives Battle Solar Tax in AZ […]

  3. […] 2014/03/04: PSinclair: Grass Roots Conservatives Battle Solar Tax in AZ […]

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