A “Don’t Tax the Sun” rally was held Saturday morning near Queen’s Beach in Waikiki, as phony tax bills were passed out to unsuspecting sunbathers.

The “bills” read “Citation! Evading Taxes While Soaking Up the Rays!” “It’s kind of funny,” said Robert Harris of the Alliance for Solar Choice, “but the humor is to expose a bad idea.”

The rally was to raise awareness of what ASC sees are the tax impacts of Hawaiian Electric Company’s recent solar proposal. “HECO’s proposal, if adopted by the Public Utilities Commission, would cripple the growth of solar and put a costly tax burden on customers,” Harris said.

He added that “one of the consequences that (residents) would not only have to start paying taxes on their solar system, but they would also be ineligible for the federal tax credit. So when most states are trying to encourage the amount of clean energy that goes in before the federal tax credit goes away, what HECO is proposing to do is take that away from people in Hawaii.”

A statement was released later in the morning by Hawaiian Electric, stating that “while we appreciate a diversity of viewpoints, statements made by The Alliance for Solar Choice are incorrect and deliberately mischaracterize our position.

“Our proposal would not tax customers with rooftop PV. We’re proposing to credit customers for energy produced by their rooftop PV systems, just as they are credited under the existing Net Energy Metering program. … The state Consumer Advocate submitted a filing with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission recommending the same bill credit we’ve proposed for new solar customers.”