INDIO -

An Indio judge today granted a request by Riverside County to move proceedings in a lawsuit filed against the county by two associations representing power companies from Indio to Riverside.

The suit, filed by the Energy Producers Association and the Large-scale Solar Association, alleges that a per-acre fee imposed on solar electricity providers is an illegal "Sun Tax."

"I think the county is shooting itself in the foot. People want to come here, they want to invest here, they want to hire people in Riverside County to work on these projects," said Jan Smutny-Jones, Executive Director of the Independent Energy Producers Association.

Riverside County wants to hit large-scale solar projects with an annual $450 per-acre tax.

"As a result of that, projects will leave Riverside County and jobs will be lost," said Smutny-Jones.

Smutny-Jones said he's disappointed the case will go to Riverside, but believes the tax will be invalidated.