This story from Ann Arbor, Michigan is typical of government incentive programs. Ann Arbor is the left-wing bastion of Michigan, and the city continually adopts environmental programs to reduce emissions, including this ambitious ‘Climate Action Plan‘ to reduce “the entire community’s greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent by 2015, by 25 percent by 2025, and by 90 percent by 2050 — all relative to 2000 baseline levels.” Undergirding that ridiculous and unmeasurable plan is the installation of solar panels in government infrastructure, along with guidelines to make the city “solar friendly.” This allows the city to spend oodles of tax booty to prop up its green industry. But when Greg McGuire installed rooftop solar panels in his historic Ann Arbor home, this happened:
The assessed value of McGuire’s property jumped more than $32,000 after the solar panels were added, and the taxable value went up roughly $10,000.
That translated to a $458.91 increase in property taxes the next year, which McGuire said essentially wiped out the energy cost savings he and his wife factored into their financial calculations when deciding to go solar.
Ann Arbor bureaucrats claim it is Michigan state law that forces them to assess and tax residential solar panels, however, some research on my part (white papers and tax tribunal scripts) indicates that interpretation of Michigan state law regarding residential solar panel installation is varied, and numerous (nearby) communities have adopted a credo that does not assess residential solar panels, and the state doesn’t really care.
In Ann Arbor, even a petition to the city’s Board of Review doesn’t get the homeowner a “win” because the goals of the booty bureaucrats (the collection of taxes) conflict with the goals of the green bureaucrats. To say that the tax policy adopted by Ann Arbor is an “impediment” to its energy goals is an understatement.