Big Win for California Solar Investors

September 11, 2019

California legislatures are busy trying to manage California’s solar boom. As Sacramento tends to do, when an industry booms, they look to legislate.

California Solar Investors received a big win this week with AB 1208 (Ting). The new law provides financial protection for investors. Without AB 1208 (Ting) cities and counties would have had the ability to establish new taxes for electricity generated and consumed on-site, like solar. Taxes like these are referred to as Utility User Tax (UTT).

Since 2013, solar has been exempt from UTT’s. Originally set to expire at the end of this year, AB 1208 (Ting) extended the protection seven years, to January 1, 2027.

Organizations like CalSSA (California Solar +Storage Association) and their members were pivotal in the formation of this bill. They worked with Assembly-member Phil Ting, ultimately passing AB 1208. The bill will continue to reduce costs for stakeholders.

View the entire bill below.

Assembly Bill No. 1208


An act to amend Section 7284.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code, relating to taxation.

[ Approved by Governor  September 05, 2019. Filed with Secretary of State  September 05, 2019. ]



AB 1208, Ting. Utility user taxes: exemption: clean energy resource.

Existing law generally provides that the legislative body of any city and any charter city may make and enforce all ordinances and regulations with respect to municipal affairs, as provided, including, but not limited to, a utility user tax on the consumption of gas and electricity. Existing law provides that the board of supervisors of any county may levy a utility user tax on the consumption of, among other things, gas and electricity in the unincorporated area of the county.

Existing law, until January 1, 2020, exempts from any utility user tax on the consumption of electricity imposed by a local jurisdiction, as defined, the consumption of electricity generated by a clean energy resource for the use of a customer or the customer’s tenants.

This bill would extend the repeal date of the above-described exemption from January 1, 2020, to January 1, 2027. The bill would include findings that the changes proposed by this bill address a matter of statewide concern rather than a municipal affair and, therefore, apply to all cities, including charter cities.


Vote: majority   Appropriation: no   Fiscal Committee: no   Local Program: no





Section 7284.5 of the Revenue and Taxation Code is amended to read:


(a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) “Local jurisdiction” means any city, county, city and county, including any chartered city, county, or city and county, district, or public or municipal corporation.

(2) “Clean energy resource” means either of the following:

(A) A device or technology used for a renewable electrical generation facility, as set forth in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 25741 of the Public Resources Code.

(B) A technology that meets all of the following requirements:

(i) The emissions standards adopted by the State Air Resources Board pursuant to the distributed generation certification program requirements of Article 3 (commencing with Section 94200) of Subchapter 8 of Chapter 1 of Division 3 of Title 17 of the California Code of Regulations.

(ii) Produces de minimis emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides.

(iii) The greenhouse gases emission performance standard established by the Public Utilities Commission pursuant to Section 8341 of the Public Utilities Code.

(iv) Has a total electrical efficiency of no less than 45 percent.

(v) Is sized to meet the generator’s onsite electrical demand.

(vi) Has parallel operation to the electrical distribution grid.

(vii) Utilizes renewable or nonrenewable fuel.

(viii) Pays any applicable utility users tax for nonrenewable fuels used in electricity generation.

(b) (1) There is exempt from any utility user tax on the consumption of electricity, imposed by any local jurisdiction, a customer’s consumption of electricity generated by a clean energy resource that is located on the customer’s premises and used solely for the customer or the customer’s tenants.

(2) This section does not exempt from any utility users tax imposed by any local jurisdiction any electricity or gas, not described in paragraph (1), that is provided to a customer by an electrical corporation, publicly owned utility, electrical cooperative, or irrigation district.

(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2027, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

The Legislature finds and declares that exempting the consumption of electricity generated by a clean energy resource that is installed for the exclusive use of a single customer, or the customer’s tenants, from local utility user taxes will ensure statewide uniformity and fairness in the overall imposition of the utility user tax. Therefore, exempting from utility user taxes the consumption of electricity generated by a clean energy resource that is installed for the exclusive use of a single customer is a matter of statewide concern, and not a municipal affair, as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution.


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