‘Sunshine’ tax bills attack solar energy users

Recently bills were introduced in both the Iowa House and Senate that would charge additional fees to those persons, businesses and farms who have installed solar panels to provide a portion of the electricity used in their home or business. We are vehemently opposed to these proposed “Sunshine” Tax bills in principle and in practicality. We would encourage citizens to contact their state legislators to express their opposition to these bills also. We use solar energy to power up to 95 percent of the electric needs of our farming operation. Regardless of how much energy we generate each month we must still pay a standard fee for our connection to the power grid. A solar customer transferring energy back onto the grid requires no additional equipment or maintenance from the energy supplier.

The energy companies in Iowa have gained far too much power, creating a monopoly in which they do not have to answer to anyone but their shareholders. In 2017, the CEO of Alliant Energy, for example, earned $5,400,000 in cash and compensation. Now the energy companies, who stand to gain nothing by encouraging solar energy use, want to penalize customers for not using the grid to supply their electricity.

We in this country have worked hard to encourage the production and development of clean energy sources. The taxpayers of Iowa have subsidized energy companies’ development of more expensive clean energy sources (for example, wind). It makes absolutely no sense now to discourage the use of clean energy by these same taxpayers. It is not what we want to do as a country or as a state. This is not the right thing to do, all it does is put more money into the pockets of the electric companies at the expense of taxpayers.

Who has the right to tax sunlight? Why should those persons who have made the investment to use clean energy be penalized? These bills will kill the use of clean solar energy in Iowa, in addition to the loss of over 800 jobs in the state. Please contact your legislators and ask them to take a stand against the monopoly utilities in Iowa, by opposing the “Sunshine” tax.