Groups Commend GA PSC’s Decision to Protect Solar Customers from Punitive Tax

Guest Blog | December 17, 2013 | Press Releases

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

Emily Driscoll, Southern Environmental Law Center, (404) 641-8108
Jennifer Rennicks, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, (865) 235-1448
Rev. Alexis Chase, Georgia Interfaith Power and Light, (404) 377-5552

Atlanta – 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.”


About Southern Environmental Law Center:
The Southern Environmental Law Center is a regional nonprofit using the power of the law to protect the health and environment of the Southeast (Virginia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama). Founded in 1986, SELC’s team of nearly 60 legal and policy experts represent more than 200 partner groups on issues of climate change and energy, air and water quality, forests, the coast and wetlands, transportation, and land use.

For more information on why the proposed solar tariff would have impeded Georgia’s ability to take full advantage of its abundant solar energy potential, click here.

About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy:
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (“SACE”) has been a leading voice for energy policy to protect the quality of life and treasured places in the Southeast since 1985. SACE works to minimize the impact of the energy sector on the Southeast’s communities, natural resources, and economies. SACE also works to support clean energy, air, water, and safe communities.

About Georgia Interfaith Power & Light:
Georgia Interfaith Power & Light is a state-wide interfaith ministry that in response to climate change and environmental injustice engages communities of faith in stewardship of Creation through worship, education, and the sustainable generation and efficient use of energy. GIPL’s goal is to help people of faith recognize and fulfill their responsibility for the stewardship of creation.