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Sierra Club sues over new solar tax credit rules

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:57 p.m. HST, Dec 11, 2012

The Sierra Club is asking a state court to invalidate new state Department of Taxation rules that change renewable energy tax credits for solar panel installations.

An Earthjustice attorney filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club in circuit court in Honolulu today. The complaint asks the court to reinstate the department's earlier interpretation of the tax credits.

The department issued new rules last month, saying it wanted to provide clarity to taxpayers.

But the Sierra Club says the new rules will increase the cost of installing solar panels and fewer panels will be installed.

The new rules calculate tax credit eligibility by total output capacity. The old rules based eligibility on the number of independent connections to the project's electrical system.

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TheKagawas wrote:
The people they should be investigating are those who are taking advantage of the tax program by double, triple, and quadruple dipping on the tax credit by installing a few panels and calling it multiple systems. These people are abusing the system and taking advantage of all Hawaii tax payers. Now you want to sue the state so that this practice can continue? Get real!
on December 11,2012 | 01:13PM
CloudForest wrote:
Earth Justice and The Sierra Club need to be banned from being allowed to file anything in the state of Hawaii - forever!
on December 11,2012 | 01:20PM
hawaiifisherman wrote:
Amen to that! These guys suck too many resources at the expense of the public. Enough already!
on December 11,2012 | 05:27PM
from_da_cheapseats wrote:
Sierra Club's annual fundraiser? Sue someone. Their annual slogan? Keep lawyers fully employed.
on December 11,2012 | 01:51PM
ichiban wrote:
A rarity for me. HOORAY!!! Earthjustice and the Sierra Club. I'm cheering for them. Gov. Abercrombie and the state tax office is changing the tax code for their own convenience. They know multiple systems (one solar panel=one system) are needed for a single family home. In essence it's one credit per home that the state wanted. The previous ruling was one credit per system. Each credit is worth $$$$ on the bottom line, dollar for dollar minus the amount you owe in taxes. How long has the previous solar tax credit ruling been in the book? For a while, and now with the "rail" project the state needs more revenue. Watch out, whats the energy source behind rail? Yup---electricity. Connect the dots.
on December 11,2012 | 02:09PM
DonkeyCurl wrote:
Hawaiian Electric is funding this crap!
on December 11,2012 | 08:20PM
Buckykat wrote:
People have been going door to door selling solar on the basis of its paying for itself partly due to tax credits and partly due to the high cost of power and the amount of sun available here. Naturally the solar companies pass tips along to their customers, not how to beat the system, but how to take advantage of everything being made available to them. Nobody's gaming the system. If the legislators would let the free market decide in the first place and quit subsidizing the way they think we should act, perhaps they wouldn't have the budget problem in the first place.
on December 11,2012 | 09:12PM
Catkan wrote:
No one is cheating except for the Governor. He is not following the rules on how to change the rules. The current rules are in place, and whether you like them or not, no one is doing anything illegal under them, so those people are not "cheaters." People may not agree on how to count the systems, but it is not up to the Governor to make a sudden decree, snap his fingers and insult a lot of homeowners, to get what he wants. It should go through the legislative process.
on December 12,2012 | 04:44AM
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