LA Solar Panel Customers Sue State Over Tax Credits

MARRERO, LA (AP) — Solar panel customers are suing the state over an imposed cap on refundable solar tax credits.

         Five homeowners are accusing the state of distributing refundable solar tax credits to customers on a first-come-first-served basis, even though they said they were led to believe the credits were guaranteed, WWL-TV’s David Hammer reported.

         The Louisiana Legislature voted in June 2015 to phase out refundable tax credits over three years and cap them at a total of $25 million, the lawsuit said. At the time of the vote, $20 million in claims had already been submitted. After the vote, another $20 million in claims came through, meaning $15 million in claimed credits were rejected.

         New Orleans attorney Larry Centola filed the lawsuit in Baton Rouge on Friday and seeks a class-action status to represent about 2,000 homeowners who are believed to have been affected by the cap.

         Jesse Mangum, an X-ray technician from Marrero, received his panels in the fall of 2015, but his solar installer never told him the tax refund was no longer guaranteed, he said. It's unclear how much of a refund he is seeking.

         "I feel like I was lied to, cheated," he said. "It's a financial hardship for me, my family, for everyone."

         The sponsor of the cap, former Rep. Erich Ponti, said the cap was meant to ensure the state had enough money to cover everyone who had already signed up.

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