SEPTEMBER 6, 2019 BY
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs plans to incentivize solar energy in city limits by eliminating excise taxes and permit fees for solar installations.
On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council directed city staff to pursue an ordinance eliminating these fees.
According to documents presented at the meeting, the city collected less than $5,000 in excise taxes in the last two years. The city charges a 1.2% excise tax on construction in city limits, which is levied on the construction value.
Permit fees for solar installation are regulated by the state and are set at $500 for residential installations and $1,000 for non-residential installations. With nine solar permits issued in the last two years, revenue from these fees was between $4,500 to $9,000.
This impact could change as Solar United Neighbors recently launched a solar cooperative in the Yampa Valley, meaning the city could see more installations of solar panels.
Diedre Macnab, a member of the co-op board, thanked the council for considering the policy in public comment.
“’I’ll be putting solar on my house here,” she said. “What we want to do is make the future solar and make the future electric transportation. Those are the things that we must do, and we have to move quickly.”
Suzie Romig said in public comment that removing the excise tax and permit fees “would remove some of the barriers” and might increase the number of co-op members pursuing installation, so far, she said, 10 of the co-ops 60 members within city limits are pursuing contracts to install solar panels. She also read a letter of support for the policy from Colorado Solar and Storage Association President Mike Kruger.
Romig said 12 other Colorado municipalities, including Louisville and Grand Junction, exempt solar installations from excise tax.
City Council members were receptive to the proposed ordinance.
“This is one more thing, although small, to move forward with to show the community that we want to be a little bit more green,” said Council Member Robin Crossan.
“And it could be more impactful in the future,” Council President Jason Lacy added.
An ordinance adopting the policy is currently scheduled to go before the council on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
To view the City Council’s discussion on this topic, visit steamboatsprings.net/agendas.
To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.