The world’s dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy

We shouldn't be taxing these guys.	 (AP Photo/Shannon Dininny)

In a setback for the renewable energy movement, the state House in Oklahoma this week passed a bill that would levy a new fee on those who generate their own energy through solar equipment or wind turbines on their property. The measure, which sailed to passage on a near unanimous vote after no debate, is likely to be signed into law by Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

The bill, known as S.B. 1456, will specifically target those who install power generation systems on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. However, those who already have such renewable systems installed will not be affected.

Still, it’s the new customers who will rapidly make up the majority, even in a traditional oil-and-gas powerhouse like Oklahoma. That’s because the cost of solar power systems has beendrastically falling for the last five years. Solar installations nationwide are going to shoot up to an estimated 45 gigawatts in 2014, a new record, and are projected to grow even more in coming years as solar prices fall further and fossil fuel extraction gets harder and more expensive.


31 thoughts on “The world’s dumbest idea: Taxing solar energy

  1. Solar power generators make money from the grid, but don’t pay to use it, so taxing them makes sense. Yet governments would be better advised to tax the power companies, as their buy back rate already has a lot of “fat” in it. Much more than there is for people with solar arrays.

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  3. A late hit.

    This post may be John Aziz’s “dumbest”, although, in my opinion, his record has been almost free of dumb.

    He confuses “tax”, “fee” and “compensation to utilities for use of their infrastructure”. Which is it?

    He accuses “many….old energy companies*” of lobbying to make renewables less competitive — do they?

    He affirms the anthropogenic (carbon emission) climate-change fraud, and supports a new report from the disgraced** UN IPCC.

    He terms Obama’s crony-capitalism subsidies*** “modest”, and echoes the century-old never-specified horror of massive fossil fuel subsidies.

    * He writes that the business model of old energy companies is “going the way of the dinosaurs”, whose extinction was sudden and cataclysmic, not caused by economics (increasing scarcity and cost).

    ** Their original IPCC report was the product of ideological advocates, who were caught selectively picking data points and peer reviewers, among other conspiracies.

    *** Most true (not political) economists advocate allowing the market (competition and choice), not government (politics and force), to “pick winners” — except in unusual circumstances such as war.

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  7. The idea of taking national revenue for the right of access to natural resources, was first proposed by Henry George in 1879 (“Progress and Poverty”) with regard to land. The land covered by the electrical generators is no longer available for other would-be land users. So a revenue (not a tax) on this benefit to the occupiers/owners of the electrical generation system is morally justifiable. It does however raise George’s question about what should be done by unused land being withheld by other owners!

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