Press Release | December 17, 2013

Clean Energy and Faith Groups Commend Georgia Public Service Commission’s Decision to Protect Solar Customers from Punitive Tax

The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE), and Georgia Interfaith Power & Light (GIPL) applaud the Georgia Public Service Commission’s decision today to approve a settlement that withdraws a proposed tax that would have penalized Georgians who invest in solar technologies to decrease their energy bills. 

Georgia Power initially sought to impose the solar tax on its customers who use solar energy to offset their electricity consumption as part of its rate case before the Commission.  SELC represented SACE in those proceedings to advocate against the solar tax, which would have wiped out more than 50% of typical customer’s savings from going solar.  Strong opposition to the tax from intervening parties, the public and Commission public interest advocacy staff led to a settlement agreement in which Georgia Power agreed to withdraw the solar tax.  The Commission voted to approve that settlement today, which addressed not only the solar tax but also the utility’s changes to its rates.

“This Commission’s decision today is yet another example of its strong leadership in encouraging affordable solar energy,” said Katie Ottenweller, leader of SELC’s Solar Initiative. “This decision will protect Georgia ratepayers’ right to invest in cost-saving solar energy going forward, which will continue to provide environmental benefits, cost savings, and economic development for our state.”

“We applaud the Commission’s approval of the settlement agreement that eliminates Georgia Power’s request for a solar tax.  A tax on solar would disadvantage this technology – reducing consumer choice and its cost-savings benefits,” said SACE State Affairs Liaison Anne Blair. “Today’s decision demonstrates a recognition by all parties that a deeper analysis is needed to determine the true value of solar to Georgia Power and its customers.”

“This is great news for Georgia’s faith communities,” said Rev. Alexis Chase, Executive Director of GIPL. “Cost savings from solar energy allow faith communities to devote more resources to their missions while also promoting good stewardship of God’s creation.”

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Emily Driscoll

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