Thursday, February 22, 2007

property tax on solar

This article appeared in yesterday's Times of Trenton about a Hamilton family whose property taxes went up because of their solar panels:

"We were surprised," said Char ley Rouse. "When we asked the tax assessor about it, we were told that it's considered an improvement to the home."
According to township records, the Rouses' property assessment jumped $12,000 for the solar panels, increasing their taxes by more than $400 this year.
The extra tax, Rouse said, outweighs the savings they have been realizing on their energy bills.
"The way I see it, by installing the solar panels, we are doing a good thing for the environment," he said. "I don't think we should be taxed on that."
Right now there is a bill in the Assembly, A1882, to exempt solar panels from property taxes. It's sitting in appropriations, but should be an easy bill to get passed, especially with the Gov's push toward reducing our greenhouse gasses. Write your legislators today!

Now, a quick word about saving money with solar. The Times ran a picture of the house in the print version, showing the size of the array in question. I think the Rouses should recalculate- they have 33 panels and they aren't saving $400 a year in electricity? I have that many and I am saving WAY more than that. Plus, don't forget the sale value of the SRECs- a tradeable certificate of renewable energy, which also helps offset the cost of installing and owning solar panels. The article makes it sound as if the solar installation is costing money in the long run, and friends, it just ain't so. Our panels are still on track to pay for themselves within about 10 years of installation.

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