By Associated Press - Sunday, August 4, 2019

BRUNSWICK, Maine (AP) - A Maine court has upheld a city’s tax on solar panels that seven families challenged in court.

The Maine Superior Court in July upheld Brunswick’s per-panel tax, The Times Record reported . An attorney representing the seven Brunswick families had claimed a city assessor imposed what amounted to a $200 per panel assessment without justification.

The families argued that Brunswick’s tax was unconstitutional and had the ability to slow the growth of solar power locally. One petitioner, Jake Plante, described the tax as not “a lot of money” but about “the principle of the thing.”

Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills ruled that petitioners failed to provide evidence of what the solar panel systems’ value should be, and didn’t establish that unjust discrimination took place.

Despite the defeat in court, property owners won’t have to continue the fight, because of new incentives for solar energy use in Maine. Lawmakers this year passed a property tax exemption for solar energy projects. An attorney for the petitioners said there won’t be an appeal because of the new exemption.

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