Florida passes solar tax break for C&I facilities - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Industrial, Regulation, Solar  -  May 5, 2017

Florida approves solar tax break for C&I installations

A Florida bill that would eliminate property taxes on solar panels has passed through the state Legislature and on to the governor.

Senate Bill 90 was passed by the Florida Senate with unanimous support May 4 following unanimous approval of the Florida House of Representatives on May 3. The tax exemption, which applies to commercial and industrial facilities, will apply for 20 years beginning in 2018 on solar and renewable energy devices, according to a news release from Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who introduced the bill.

"The voters of Florida spoke loud and clear in support of an expanded solar market in the sunshine state," Brandes said. "Reducing property taxes on solar and renewable energy devices will bring more solar energy to Florida."  The unanimous support of the legislature shows that we are dedicated to expanding the share of renewables in our energy portfolio, and I am excited to continue to advocate for energy reform." 

The bill implements Amendment 4, which passed with 73% support by the voters in the 2016 primary election, according to Brandes' office. The bill exempts 80% of the value of solar and renewable energy devices from property taxes on real and tangible personal property and reflects an extension of the existing exemption in law for solar and renewable energy devices on residential property. 

Solar and industry advocacy groups such as Advanced Energy Economy, the Solar Energy Industry Association and Vote Solar praised the bill's passage. Vote Solar said in a statement that businesses groups such as the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association have also praised the legislation.

"The measure reduces tax barriers for Floridians who want to go solar, while also ensuring proper consumer protections are in place," SEIA said in a statement that also urged Gov. Rick Scott to sign the bill into law. SEIA Executive Vice President Tom Kimbis added: 

The Florida legislature took a historic step forward today to expand solar across the state while recognizing Floridians' desire for more choice over their energy options. And, importantly, the bill includes strong protections and increased transparency for consumers, helping ensure they fully understand solar transactions. Consumer protection is both the right thing to do and critical to the success of the industry and we congratulate the Florida legislature for advancing these protections without creating burdensome red tape for small businesses.

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