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Arizona, Elections, Features, Politics, Top Stories

Solar Deception

Solar Deception
Posted: July 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm   /   by

You may have heard the spin coming from TUSKS’s California solar companies that are trying to convince Arizonans to subsidize their wealthy customers through a process known as “net metering.” What did they leave out of their talking points? – That they’re under federal investigation for defrauding taxpayers.

The federal government is investigating TUSK superstars SolarCity and SunRun, for submitting falsified applications in order to get more of your tax dollars. Government officials said this lead to “improperly lucrative” subsidies. Why would these companies stoop so low? Because, despite massive subsidies and not paying taxes or abiding by regulations, they are still losing money – lots of money. One solar industry insider said this could be “the biggest scam in the U.S. today.”  Solar Industry Magazine commented:

The incidence of questionable accounting practices – such as ITC fraud, basis inflation for Treasury 1603 grants, and leases with excessive escalation rates – has quietly been common knowledge in the industry, but at a time when solar’s image is already under attack, these ethical violations will soon be exposed to the public.

These ethical violations are starting to get noticed, so the rooftop solar industry has resorted to “straw man arguments,” claiming APS wants to “kill solar” and “tax the sun.”  The reality is that these rooftop solar companies are so heavily dependent upon the current subsidy and rebate system, that they are willing to mischaracterize current net metering reform proposals to protect their business model. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, SolarCity admitted:

“Our business currently depends on the availability of rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives. The expiration, elimination or reduction of these rebates, credits and incentives would adversely impact our business.”

That’s not all – one of the companies funding these ads was sued by a competitor for stealing confidential information and committing corporate espionage to gain access to sensitive customer data.  And they run ads saying they support the free market? Does it sound like they believe in fairness and competition to you?

There’s a reason countries like Germany are ending their solar subsidies – they’re bankrupting them. Germany recently announced they are pulling the plug on all solar subsidies by 2018, having already dramatically reduced subsidy programs for the faltering industry last year.

Big solar is worried that’ll happen here.  Let’s remind big solar that supporting the free market means playing by the rules, not falsifying government contacts and relying on unethical cronyism.