Kill House Bill 779! End of solar leasing credit would darken prospect of wider access to cheap power

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

Green Army

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore

A little sunshine can be a good thing. In Louisiana, a little sunshine has given rise to a brand new industry as an important part of Louisiana’s expanding energy economy – solar power.

The solar power industry has lifted the burden of expensive utility bills off the backs of thousands of residents. Even though we think of power as cheap in our energy-producing state, we still have the 23rd highest utility bills in the country, which means it is often difficult for retirees and working families to pay their bills and put food on the table. Our folks here in Louisiana deserve to have a choice about how they power their homes and solar leasing gives them just that.

Solar has also created a workforce of highly trained and well-paid workers – over 3600 direct and indirect jobs in Louisiana at recent count. Last year across the nation one in eight new jobs was a solar job. We need those good jobs here in Louisiana badly. Those solar jobs buffer us from the wills of foreign governments that force energy markets and energy jobs up and down.

A little sunshine is always good thing on Louisiana’s political process as well. The out of state utility special interests that are more interested in selling power than producing savings want to keep our residents from solar choice. Once again, they put their profits over protecting our air, water and land from pollution with clean solar power. They’ll use every trick in the book and say anything to convince folks that freedom and choice aren’t as important as preserving the monopolies that utilities have.

House Bill 779 that was slated for a hearing in the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee on May 18* is backed by those out-of-state special interests. If they have their way, it would put an end to solar leasing in Louisiana. Leasing makes solar systems available to people of low and moderate means because through leasing they can avoid the considerable, up-front costs of purchasing a system.

Although their utility bill savings are not as great as if they had purchased a system, they are significant and meaningful, especially to working families of low and moderate means. If solar leasing incentives are killed, that means only rich folks who can afford to spend $25,000 up front would receive the benefits of solar. You shouldn’t have to have that much pocket change to be able to afford to cut your utility bill by an average of more than $1,000 a year.

The freedoms that solar leasing brings to families are important and we need to defend them. In the United States, we have the freedom of choice and no one should be able to take that away, no matter how rich or poor a person is.

Don’t let anyone take away our beautiful Louisiana sunshine. Tell your state senator to save solar leasing by voting no on HB 779!

Lt. Gen. Russel Honore led the U.S. Army response to Hurricane Katrina. Now retired from active military service, he commands the Green Army, a citizen uprising in defense of Louisiana’s environment and the best interests of the general public.  

*This column was first posted prior to the hearing; the sentence was modified as the date of the hearing came and went.

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  • Pax Bobrow
  • and the oil and gas as industry was gifted $2.4 Billion in severance tax exemptions
    over the past 7 years…
    Poverty is big business, so it’s best to keep us stupid and polarized as to not notice, and demand a balanced energy diet.
    Hate to bitch only- but what can be done to end the bribery?
    When the few times we see Steve Scalese and Cedric Richmond on the same page is to save Eric Skrmetta?
    Best from Freret,

    Andy Brott

  • nickelndime

    “The best things in life are free,” but how do “they” always get the Louisianans to pay for those things that others in other states refuse to pay (for)! Why does Louisiana always wind up with the worst elected officials. Yeah, I am cutting up because it is disgusting how Louisianans ignorantly give up their freedoms and their choices. They pay to be mistreated and then they say thank you. “I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” Lt. Gen. Honore is a fighter. 05/16/2015 1:58 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Good job, Andy Brott. I thought the contractors had you barricaded in on Freret Street, but I see you too are “…mad as hell…” 05/16/2015 2:02 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    That is probably true, “Pax Bobrow.” There are very few things that are more corrupt than the state of Louisiana. 05/16/2015 2:04 PM DST USA

  • Bryan

    There’s a lot of gimmicks hitting the solar energy market. Now that expensive solar leasing/PPA schemes are losing their popularity, the solar leasing companies want you to try their new 30 year balloon payment loans with a 2.9% annual payment increase. You read right, a 30% balloon payment that ‘s due on June 1st the year after installation, regardless of the amount claimed in the tax credit and you’ll have a 2.9% annual payment increase!

    Pricing for solar has dropped to historically low levels. Today a name brand, average sized 4.75 kW grid tie solar system that will produce up to 600 kWh per month with only 5 hours of peak sunshine per day.can now be purchased for less than $2.20 a watt after applying the tax credit or less than $11,000.

    Solar has truly become affordable today. Just make sure that you compare quotes from at least 6 dealers before you commit to a system. Don’t just shop the big leasing companies or even the small local dealers. Use a search engine such as Yahoo to (enter the name of your state followed by the word solar) and you’ll come of with hundreds of results to compare pricing. Pricing can vary by tens of thousand of dollars for the same system. Be smart, shop before you buy or lease.

  • nickelndime

    Well, here we go again. Humans exploiting humans. Survival of the fittest. The Law of the Jungle. Pay for the Sun. Jesus H. Holy Christ. The next thing you know, Louisianans will be paying for the air they breathe. Oh, my bad! They is already paying for that, compliments of LaToya Cantrell. Get a job, Mitchell. A real job with yo sista who is “on the take” (sorry, “employed” by the Waltons) with her adopted husband, I mean the Snellings’ children. Well excuse me, I is on Madrid time. 05/17/2015 12:55 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    What do Karen “Ken”
    Carter Peterson and Mary “Mitch” Landrieu Snellings have in common? I give up. This is a (expletive deleted) riddle. You figure it out. 05/17/2015 1:20 AM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    I am re-posting here because government corruption d/b/a elected officials is above toxic levels (and not only in Louisiana):
    “This country could use a good rebellion. Maybe the bikers are the ones to lead it. They got gutzpah and they ain’t afraid of anybody, including each other. It will be called “The Bikers Rebellion. I would love to see some high government officials put into a room with these bikers. We could change the pattern of government corruption overnight. Picture this: Vitter and a Biker; Richmond and a Biker; Landrieu and a Biker; Obama and a Biker…I could go on and on. We need a reality check in this country.” 05/17/2015 10:30 PM/10:38 PM DST USA

  • nickelndime

    Well, I thought wrong. You weren’t asleep after all. Good for you. The Devil never sleeps, so you need to double (2X) up. Remember, I am on Madrid time. Here’s the latest: SUPPORT A BIKER. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW FAR THEY WILL GO. And think about this. They do not vote in a voting booth, but their votes count. 05/19/2015 2:00 AM DST USA

  • Ray Boggs

    Solar leases, PPAs and 30 year leasing company balloon payment loans with their annual payment increases are three of the most expensive ways to have solar on your roof.

    Today, pricing for an average sized 4.75 kW purchased system that can produce up to 600 kWh of electricity per month with 5 hours of peak sunshine per day has dropped below $11,000 after applying the 30% federal tax credit.

    In fact you’ll pay up to 3 times that amount for the same sized 4.75 kW system with a $ down solar lease or PPA after making 20 years worth of leasing or PPA payments.

    And now the solar leasing companies want you ty their 30 year balloon payment loan (yes 30 years !). With one of those $0 down solar loans that the leasing company is offering you’ll have to come up with a 30% balloon payment that is due on June 1st the year after installation, regardless of the amount claimed in the tax credit and you’ll have a 2.9% annual payment increase. Who in their right mind would sign up for a 30 year loan on an $11,000 purchase?

    The federal governments just released a report that says that It’s far better to pay cash for a system or save about 29% by getting a loan instead of an expensive solar lease or PPA. Don’t get blindsided by the solar leasing company’s balloon payment or their 2.9% annual payment increases.

  • nickelndime

    Thank you, Ray Boggs, cuz Gawd knows, the Public is “deficient.” I hope you will continue to post. Is U related to Hale Boggs, by any chance! How
    Lindy doing? Sorrry. 05/25/2015 12:58 AM DST USA

  • phil potter

    This is very upsetting, I have been dreading the day this bill comes to the agenda. I work in the solar industry and I moved to Louisiana for this prospect. I can’t say that it has been the greatest experience, but I can say that we have given many families a bit more financial freedom, a little bit of solar for a very inexpensive price is able to make a world of a difference for those who can’t afford the luxuries of electricity. If this bill passes today the opportunity will be lost for all.