The Oklahoma legislature has passed a bill that institutes a tax on the sun and wind (distributed generation). Beginning November 1, 2014, residents who use solar or wind energy and want to connect their renewable energy to the grid, must begin paying a “solar surcharge” to utilities for the privilege. The bill was signed into law on April 21 (notably one day before Earth Day and during Earth Week) by Governor Mary Fallin. Existing solar arrays and wind turbines and any projected commissioned by October 31, 2014 will be grandfathered in at existing connection charges.
The bill was passed with virtually no opposition and was supported by the state’s major electric utilities who said they need the surcharge to recover some of the infrastructure costs to send excess electricity safely from distributed generation back to the grid, especially for those customers who don’t have the money to do this safely. The bill drew opposition from solar and wind advocates as well as environmentalists.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is now tasked with establishing a separate customer class and monthly surcharge, or tariff for distributed generation customers. The new tariffs would start by the end of 2015.
So in other words, complements of the “sun tax” customers now have to pay extra to generate their own electricity from renewable resources – the exact opposite of what adding solar or wind to your home is supposed to do. In keeping with the theme of the sun and wind, this is not a bright idea but rather a blustery idea.