Israel advances bill to cut rooftop solar tax

The Israeli Knesset on Wednesday approved a bill that would eliminate taxes on home solar and wind energy installations.

Supporters of the bill, which received cabinet approval on Sunday, hope to encourage individual investment in solar and wind systems in an effort to increase Israel’s overall share of renewable energy, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, the law would exempt homeowners from paying taxes rooftop solar systems and wind turbines. The bill also provides tax benefits for owners who rent space for the installation of renewable energy systems.

“By reducing the bureaucratic hurdles typically linked to renewable energy production, the hope is to reduce morbidity from air pollution, boost financial savings and increase electricity production during peak demand hours,” the Finance Ministry said, quoted in The Jerusalem Post.

The government based its bill on a private bill proposed by Knesset members Yael Cohen Paran and Hamad Amar.

Israel, with an abundance of sun, generates less than 2% of its energy from solar sources, Paran and Amar said in a joint statement. Now, every Israeli household will be able to generate clean energy and significantly reduce the cost of living, they added.

The Knesset members congratulated the government for its support in promoting clean energy, particularly solar, saying the bill would “exempt household electricity producers from taxes, enabling them to generate their own electricity with solar rooftops.”

The Israeli Knesset last year installed what it said at the time was the largest solar PV installation on any parliament building in the world. The 450 kW array consists of some 1,500 custom-made JA PV modules made by JA Solar covering more than 4,650 square meters. The installation was expected to generate some 10% of the Knesset’s electricity and help reduce the building’s energy use by a third.