A modest tax incentive proposal in Boulder, Colorado, creates a solar renewable energy fund from local sales tax revenues on solar energy equipment. About one third of the revenues will go for partial sales tax rebates and the other two-thirds will go to upgrade and fund new solar projects in the city at low income and nonprofit organization sites.
The rebate is available to residents or businesses who install a photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal (hot water) system in the city of Boulder after December 14, 2006. Rebates are based on city of Boulder tax paid on materials and/or permits required for installation. An application form must be submitted to receive the rebate (see the Application Form)
City officials estimate that 2007 tax revenues from solar projects are likely to total about $50,000, assuming that approximately 500 kW of photovoltaics will be installed. The partial rebates will use about 35 percent and efforts to rehabilitate and install new solar projects will use 65 percent of the total as part of a renewable energy account. City staff will work with a stakeholder group in the community to design the criteria for distributing funds from the renewable energy account.
Although this proposal is small in terms of dollars and impact, we appreciate Boulder’s efforts to recycle targeted tax revenues in order increase on-site renewable energy projects in the city where they might not otherwise be developed. This type of “renewable energy bank” could be expanded into the realm of conservation and energy efficiency.