SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Large-scale Solar Association (LSA) is announcing its opposition to a proposed solar tax in Riverside County, concerned that a number of proposed solar projects and thousands of jobs would be put at risk. The industry advocate is joining the Riverside County Chamber of Commerce to oppose Board Policy B-29, which would add a unique multi-million dollar tax to solar generating facilities.
Currently proposed large-scale solar projects in Riverside County stand to create more than 7,400 jobs. These jobs represent a $3 billion dollar payroll for construction jobs through 2015, with another $50 million in permanent operational payroll in an area with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Additionally, these projects would bring more than $5 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits to a county in need of recovery. These economic benefits are at serious risk should the County Board pass Policy B-29.
No other county has enacted such a fee on renewable energy projects. The solar industry contends that such a fee is a violation of Proposition 26, which prevents local government from passing taxes under the guise of "fees." The Sun Tax has been postponed repeatedly while the County and industry have attempted to reach an amicable solution for an additional fee on large-scale solar projects that are already subject to significant mitigation measures. County officials say additional impacts are not covered by the tens of millions these projects would already pay to the County's general fund through sales and property taxes.
"The solar industry has always said it would pay its fair share, however, Riverside County has failed to conduct an impact study as requested by several Supervisors last summer," said Shannon Eddy, Executive Director of the Large-scale Solar Association. "We believe a study would reveal that County staff is asking solar companies for an unsubstantiated fee on projects that are already expected to bring thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in taxes and other economic benefits. Because no other county has such a fee, this will move Riverside County out of the market in a highly competitive industry that is driving California to its goal of using 33 percent renewable energy by 2020."
LSA is urging the Riverside County Board of Supervisors to vote against Board Policy B-29 and preserve thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. The item was taken off calendar at this week's Board meeting, but is expected to be open for public comment on Tuesday, November 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the Riverside County Board Chambers, 4080 Lemon St., Riverside, Calif. Letters of opposition can be mailed to the same address or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about LSA visit www.largescalesolar.org.
SOURCE Large-scale Solar Association