South Carolina Poll Shows Support for Energy Choice and Opposition To Taxes On Rooftop Solar

frmrkt2Energy prices continue to fall as the country learns to become less dependent on fossil fuels. Hopefully our government will get that message. Regrettably, there’s always a new tax on the horizon to keep us from energy independence.

Residents of South Carolina have sent a powerful message to utility monopolies seeking a tax on rooftop solar power: A new poll shows that 73% of South Carolina voters want to see more rooftop solar energy. That’s why lawmakers there passed legislation to increase energy choice through private sector rooftop solar.

Pollsters at Wenzel Strategies surveyed 606 voters in South Carolina in mid-October. Additional findings show 75% of respondents believe solar is an important part of providing energy choice and competition in the electricity market. 85% believe they should “have the right to choose where (their) energy comes from”. A stunning 92% of respondents believe that consumers who invest in solar should not be required to pay an additional fee to their power company.

Utilities in a number of states have been trying to tax rooftop solar competitors out of business by proposing fees and surcharges on rooftop solar customers. But policy makers have denied these tax proposals across the country. Most recently in Utah, Public Service Commissioners voted unanimously to reject a utility-proposed rooftop solar tax. This new South Carolina poll shows voters in the Palmetto Sate don’t want the government to tax rooftop solar power.

What’s more, in neighboring Mississippi, a recent study conducted for the Mississippi Public Service Commission found that rooftop solar can put downward pressure on everyone’s electricity rates. This means all ratepayers would benefit from rooftop solar.

Mississippi’s study looked at solar net metering, which allows rooftop solar customers to get full retail credit for the excess power they send back to the grid. The utility then sells it to neighboring homes and businesses at that same retail rate. South Carolina’s new solar law includes provisions to expand and improve that state’s current net metering program for the investor-owned utilities. With the South Carolina poll and the Mississippi study in mind, officials there would be wise to make that happen.

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