In an August 30 referendum, Florida voters will cast their ballots on Amendment 4 – choosing whether to expand property tax exemptions for solar and wind generation to commercial and industrial ratepayers, in addition to residential owner-generators.
To date, only Florida homeowners have been able to take advantage of such deductions.
If approved by 60 percent of the Sunshine State electorate, the tax break would have a 20-year lifespan, from 2017 to 2037, the local Sun Sentinel reported.
According to the advocacy group, Floridians 4 Lower Energy Costs, “In addition to helping customers lock in energy cost savings, and reducing pollution for a more sustainable energy future, Amendment 4 will encourage solar companies to move into Florida, creating new jobs that support the local economy.”
The amendment got on the ballot through a vote of the Florida Legislature, not the more typical petition process for general elections. Both the state House and Senate passed it unanimously.
“We have given the people of Florida an opportunity to have a voice on solar,” stated State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg). “If approved by the voters, we have an opportunity to become a leader in solar and bring thousands of jobs to this state. I am confident that the voters will approve this amendment with overwhelming support.”
Amendment 4 is also supported by the energy industry, some environmental groups and energy-industry watchdog groups such as the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
A separate solar energy amendment will be on the ballot in November. Amendment 1 says individuals and businesses have the right to use solar energy but not to sell it to others. That amendment is opposed by the environmental and watchdog groups backing Amendment 4 and was bankrolled by utility companies, the Sun Sentinel reported.