There are currently two bills before the WV Legislature that would contribute significantly to a more reliable and resilient electrical system in our state. Senate Bill 54 and House Bill 4126 (both introduced as identical bills) would provide tax credits of up to $3000 for the installation of emergency back up generators. Unfortunately, neither of these bills currently extend this credit to solar powered systems with battery backup capacity. They need to be amended to include this important source of real reliability that is not dependent on fuels from outside sources during an emergency.
The other bill, that needs no amendments, is Senate Bill 471. SB471 amends former Gov. Manchin’s coal-friendly ARPS law to establish a solar carve out which would create a market for solar renewable energy credits for the first time in WV. These markets are functioning extremely well in surrounding states and are a business-friendly, market-based way to expand opportunities for electrical customers and WV businesses in the solar power industry.
Solar industry lobbyists report that legislators are telling them that all they are hearing from legislators this session is “no more tax credits unless it’s for coal and gas industries then they make an exception.” Consider that the Legislature itself, along with former Gov. Manchin and current Gov. Tomblin, created the current state budget crunch by steadily reducing the corporate income tax over the past five years.
The SB471, the solar carve out bill, is still in its committee of origin, the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Commitee. If you want to help make this bill a reality, contact Committee Chairman Facemire and ask him to put SB471 on his committee’s agenda for a vote. You should also contact committee members, listed here, to ask for their support for the bill when Chairman Facemire puts it before them for a vote.
We also need to contact the House Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security Committee to advocate for amending HB4126 to include solar power systems with battery backup. The Committee Chairman to contact is Homeland Security Chairman Brady Paxton and committee members listed here. Because this bill was also introduced as SB54, you should also contact the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Corey Palumbo and the Judiciary Committee members at this link.
February 23 is the deadline for all bills to be out of their committees of origin, or they die. That is just 13 days away.
If you want to see WV build a real reliable electrical system, despite the Legislature’s past tax giveaways to out of state corporations, use the contact links above to advocate for the important legislation we need to help make it happen.