A Louisiana House committee is pushing for restrictions on tax credits for solar installations on Lousiana residences.

The Ways and Means Committee moved forward House Bill 510, which proposes to “advance the sunset date” of the state's solar energy systems tax credit so that it finishes more than two years early on 1 July 2015 instead of December 2017.

The tax credit began in January 2008.

Current law provides a state income tax credit to homeowners for the purchase and installation of solar energy systems at a Louisiana residence, which is equal to 50% of the first US$25,000 of the system cost. This goes down to 38% for systems purchased and installed by a third party through a lease with the owner of the residence.

If approved by the legislature, the proposed change in the law will apply to any system installed on or after 1 July this year.

Meanwhile the committee also pushed through House Bill 779, which proposes to cap the solar tax credit to the first US$20,000 of system cost.

The tax credit would also no longer apply to solar systems purchased and installed by a third party or any solar systems not directly related to electricity such as thermal.

A third House Bill pushed through, HB817, also related to caps on the solar tax credit.

The three bills are part of 14 new restrictions proposed for tax credits in the Lousiana state. It is not yet clear which of the three solar related bills will be taken for consideration by the Louisiana Legislature.

Representative Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee told the Committee on 27 April: “Over the last eight years, we’ve invested a significant amount of the state’s operating revenue in new tax incentives with the expectation that these incentives would grow the private sector economy and thus provide government with additional the revenue that comes from private sector growth.

“Eight years are behind us and we are still waiting for the incentives to work as we planned. For eight years we’ve made cuts to agencies, healthcare and higher education. We’ve cobbled together budgets using various forms of one-time money, all in an effort to avoid the type of draconian cuts healthcare and higher education are facing today.”

In related news, a ballot proposal for a constitutional amendment to remove barriers to solar ownership in Florida is to be taken to the Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on the wording of the ballot.

The proposal, put forward by solar campaigners, Floridians for Solar Choice, now has 85,000 signatures to its petition.

House Bill 57 in Georgia in March aimed to improve the economic competitiveness of solar, freeing up the leasing of solar PV system equipment from third parties. This Georgia Bill left Florida as one of only four states where current law denies citizens and businesses the ability to buy solar power electricity directly from someone other than an electric utility or government-owned electric utility, according to Floridians for Solar Choice.

The campaigners are hopeful that the ballot’s wording will gain Supreme Court approval early this summer. They require another 600,000 signatures by February 2016 in order to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2016 ballot.