Arizona and Solar Companies Can’t Agree on What Residential Solar Means

by Henry Kaplan | Jul 02, 2014 |

The disagreement about rooftop solar panels: should you get the tax benefits of rooftop solar when you put someone else’s solar panels on your home? Arizona offers property-tax exemptions for rooftop solar panels. But Arizona’s Department of Revenue decided last year that homes with leased solar panels don’t qualify. The state says that the companies that own and lease out the panels are energy generation companies, just like a company that owns a utility-scale solar plant, and therefore they don’t get the same benefits as residential solar panel owners.

Now, two solar companies have filed a lawsuit, hoping that the courts will overturn that decision, and give residential solar panel leasers the same benefits as those who own their own panels. SolarCity and Sunrun say that they are equipment leasing companies, not generation companies, and that they shouldn’t be treated the same as electricity generators and sellers.

Overall, this is another issue that's arisen as the line between energy producer and consumer growing blurrier. We’ve seen ambiguities like this before, as companies and regulators try to adapt to the new energy environment.

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