Amy Joi O’Donoghue – Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — A committee of lawmakers Tuesday agreed to extend the production tax credit to large-scale solar projects, essentially “leveling the playing field” for the development of solar fields in Utah.
Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, SB224 would grant a financial incentive for solar projects. The tax break already exists for wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources.
“Currently the production of renewable energy using wind, geothermal and biomass all receive production tax credits that help offset the higher costs of producing renewable power,” Okerlund told members of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
“This production tax credit has helped encourage the development of wind and geothermal projects in the state, and the state’s production credit was an important part of First Wind’s decision to build a 300-megawatt plant near Milford.”
Okerlund added that at the time the credit was granted for wind and geothermal projects, the development of solar energy was so prohibitively expensive it didn’t seem to be a viable option on Utah’s renewable energy horizon.
Technological advancements and solar’s popularity have combined to change that, he said.
“Solar panel prices have fallen dramatically, and now there are people who are doing large-scale solar projects in the state who could benefit,” Okerlund said.
Pete Sullivan from First Wind said for every dollar of production tax credit given to a renewable energy project, $9 is returned to the local economy. (…)
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