Letters from the West

Idaho House panel approves solar tax

The Boise Solar Project is under construction on Cloverdale Road on 550 acres and will product 40 megawatts of solar power, which would be taxed at 3.5 percent under a House bill.
The Boise Solar Project is under construction on Cloverdale Road on 550 acres and will product 40 megawatts of solar power, which would be taxed at 3.5 percent under a House bill.

A bill imposing a 3.5 percent production tax on solar-produced power was approved by the House Taxation and Revenue Committee Monday.

The bill, introduced by House Majority Leader Mike Moyle of Star, replaces the property tax with the production tax on energy output so solar developers don't have the heaviest tax burden up front. Wind and geothermal projects have the same arrangement with counties but their production tax is set at 3 percent.

Moyle's legislation also requires that the tax revenues generated by the new solar projects go to property tax relief.

The bill had no opposition before the House Committee. Previously, Idaho Power and other utilities had opposed such legislation since it made it easier for developers to get financial backing for their projects.

But the Idaho Public Utilities Commission changed the rules at Idaho Power's request, shortening the contract period, leaving five to seven projects moving forward including the Boise City project under construction on Cloverdale Road in Kuna and a project near Mountain Home.

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