Update on the Solar Tax Credit Changes

Updated 10/22/15

It is official.  (Signed by the governor on 6/19/15) (originally posted here 6/17/15)
1. HB779 is law – The systems installed after 7/1/15 may get a maximum $10k tax credit (down from $12,500).  “May” is because of #2.
2. The annual tax credit is capped at $10 million per fiscal year for systems sold that calendar year.  There is a $25M total program cap.
3. $10 million total credits will be issued in 2016 (for 2015 systems) starting in 1/1/16 based on the order in which they are received.  When the 2016 funds run out, any credits remaining will roll to the front of the line for the $10M of 2017 funds. The $5M remaining in the 2018 budget will be available for the remaining credits, and if there are more credits than funds the funds will be dispersed pro-rata.
4. This information has been confirmed by the Louisiana Department of Revenue and a “Revenue Information Bulletin” was issued with more detail on the credit.

Most importantly, file early next year to get your place in line for your credit.

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Background:  Here’s what happened that got us here.  Representative Ted James House Bill 510 (to kill the solar tax credit and possibly leave more money for his pet projects) did not make it out of the House.  Nice work everybody!

We did not support the Broadwater bill, House Bill 817, which only saved the state 11 million dollars , did not make it out of the House.  The main difference is that it allowed leasing to continue.

We supported the Ponti Bill – House Bill 779 , which made it out of the house (with amendments).  True, it cuts our solar tax credit 20% but was supported by the solar industry to help the state budget by saving millions and saving the solar tax credit.  However with the senate finance committee amendments totaling $44 million to allow leasing for 2 more years, the bill did not save much.

The leasing lobby, assisted by idiots trying to help, caused the Ponti bill to be amended to GIVE leasing $25M PLUS $19M for their “first of the year” sales.  That’s $44M for basically ONE COMPANY, POSIGEN.

Some have estimated that $19M of the $25M was already installed by sales companies before the legislation was changed.  If this is accurate then that would leave $6M to be shared by 200 contractors customers over 2 years.

$6M credit = $12M Sales (at 50% credit).  Divided that by $20k systems = 600 systems.  Divided by 200 companies statewide licensed to install = 3 systems they can sell.  To make matters worse, this is over a 2 year period, since only $10M is paid out a year.  That brings it to 1 system sold per year for each contractor.

Would you like to guess the number of business closures, lay-offs, drop in permits, drop in sales tax payments, drop in local purchases, etc. this idiotic move caused July 1, 2015?  (answer = most all)

***Update (10/22/15) – we are currently meeting and working with LDR to publish an official estimate of the remaining tax credit and we will post this when it is available.

****Update 5/9/16)  Based on the totals LDR has published, over $33M in credits for sold 2015 solar systems are pending.  There were only $10M available for 2015, and $15M after that, so goodbye credits.  When you look at the “leased” $$$ only $3.3M has been paid, and they claim it monthly.

THIS MEANS… The state divided $50M “down the middle” for sold and leased systems.  There were a hundred solar installers and only one “leaser”.  The money should have been divided more like $45M / $5M.

THE ONLY LOGICAL SOLUTION…. would be for the legislature, in the next special session, to pool the money (sales and leasing), and PAY OUT ALL THE 2015 tax refunds and with the funds available.  Shut it down, pocket the $7M and call it a day.

Here’s the link

 

 

 

The Louisiana Solar Tour 2015

The Louisiana Solar Tour 2015

By Jeff Shaw

solartour15Everyone that took the Louisiana Solar Tour 2015 seemed to love it.  Our Louisiana Solar Energy Society (LSES) tour was held in conjunction with the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) National Solar Tour.  This makes 15th year that Louisiana homes have been open for the “solar curious” and “solar wanna-be’s” to connect with real live solar homeowners (and the 20th for ASES)!

While it has been done many times, this year was unique in many ways.  Here are a few:

1. The people that went – had to be the best group ever.  It was a great mix of all ages that were exactly who the tour was designed for.  They in turn will spread the word about solar to their friends, coworkers and families about what they learned.  It was fun and light, not a stuffy event.  The systems were unique and met the needs of each homeowner.

2. The places visited – showed the current trend of including battery storage with solar installations.  Four out of five or the tour sites included battery storage.  Two of the homeowners had storage to avoid the inconvenience of extended power outages (like hurricanes).  Our company, Gulf South Solar (GSS) was on tour and has storage to avoid business shutdown during short term outages (4-6 hours).  My home showcased “GridZero”, the latest Outback Power technology, which allows “Off-Grid” living with the grid as backup.

3. The party at the end – thanks to Tin Roof Brewing, Baton Rouge’s only brewery, we had celebratory refreshments to mark the 15th year of solar tours in Louisiana.  GSS supplied the food and everyone was able to stay as long as they wanted and get to know each other better.

If you weren’t able to come this year, consider visiting (and joining) LSES, lses.org, and coming to a meeting, event, or support the non-profit efforts that have truly changed Louisiana for the better.  They are continue to do so as well for a better solar Louisiana.  Special thanks to Rebecca Chalin, the LSES Statewide Coordinator for putting the tour together so perfectly!

How the State Tax Credit Ruined Solar in Louisiana

How the State Tax Credit Ruined Solar in Louisiana
by Kassy Sanchez

lss8
A fly-by-night company installing Enphase in the shade (a byproduct of the state tax credit)

In 2008, the 50% state tax credit kick-started the solar industry in Louisiana. It made solar affordable for the average Joe and changed the way people thought about investing in solar energy. Before 2008, there were many people investing in solar for the RIGHT reasons; environmental, sustainability, battery backup for emergencies, rising cost of electricity, peace of mind, and many others. Many post 2008 solar consumers lost sight of this and were solely focused on that magic number: RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI).

ROI is great, but that is not the point of solar. Solar is a long term investment, like the one you make on your family home. In most cases you aren’t looking to purchase a home based on a return on investment. There are a lot of factors that go into helping you make an investment decision for a home, but along with cost come location, security, size, and how it will prove to be an asset in the future.

Solar is a long term investment. The recent state tax credit has created such a short payback time that consumers are losing sight of true benefits to solar. Solar energy is sustainable. It’s good for the environment, and it makes use of the ever-present natural energy source we see in the sky every day: the sun! As energy costs rise, the cost of the power that your solar installation is producing will stay the same. For this reason ,a solar system will continually become more valuable as the years go by.

Had the state tax credit never gone into effect, the solar industry in Louisiana would be smaller but we would see more customers interested in the IMPORTANT qualities that solar has to offer. It would have prevented the formation of newer, less reliable solar companies that will disband and run when their customer’s come calling for repairs or with tax credit issues. If the state tax credit had never been instituted, Gulf South Solar, along with a core group of other reliable, knowledgeable, experienced contractors would have been selling solar to those who see the importance in the long term investment.

We are thankful for the additional business that the tax credit has provided us over the last 7 years. We now want to challenge our customers to rethink how they view solar.