Arizona solar installers ‘thrilled’ with long-term extension of rooftop tax credit

Rooftop solar installers are rejoicing over the federal budget inclusion of a multi-year extension of solar tax credits.
“It’s nice to have longer certainty for rooftop solar,” said Mark Holohan, Wilson Electric Co. solar division manager and president of the Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association. He said the industry is “thrilled” with the extension.
Jacob Moore and Eliel Ortega, installers with Sun Valley Solar Solutions, work on a residential rooftop solar system in Gilbert.The bipartisan budget deal passed Congress last week and signed by the president extends the life of the Investment Tax Credit through 2019. The credit, which cuts solar array installation costs by around 30 percent, was slated to drop to 10 percent in 2017.
Solar installers worried that drop would have had a crippling impact on their industry.
“We thank leaders from both parties who came together to provide bi-partisan support that levels the playing field for solar and protects energy choice for consumers,”
Lynn Jurich, CEO of Sunrun Inc., a San Francisco-based solar installer with a major presence in Arizona, said in statement. “We’re pleased that Sunrun can continue our mission of creating a planet run by the sun.”
Holohan said there also is good news in the bill for commercial installations as it extends the 50 percent bonus depreciation for commercial installers.
“The credit will cover installations up to $500,000, and this should help promote commercial solar installations,” he said.
Although renewable energy source installation costs are coming down to be more competitive with coal and other traditional generating methods, installers in Arizona are concerned about other pressure on the industry’s cost effectiveness.“There are rate cases coming before the (Arizona Corporation Commission) next year from Tucson Electric Power and (UniSource Energy Services) that have anti-competitive impacts on solar,” Holohan said. “TEP’s proposal is anti-competitive, and UES’ is extreme. We’re intervening on these cases.”
Arizona Public Service Co. is also expected to file a rate case in June that may change the way solar rate reimbursements are set.
The ACC has an open docket to explore the costs and benefits of rooftop-generated solar power that will come into play on the three rate cases, according to Chairwoman Susan Bitter Smith. Bitter Smith remains chair of the commission until her Jan. 4 resignation effective date.