In the Sunshine State primary elections on August 30, Amendment 4– a constitutional amendment intended to advance the use of solar power in Florida – passed with a majority of more than 70 percent of the vote.
With over 1.9 million Floridians checking “yes” on their ballots, the measure received more support than the state’s two U.S. Senate primary winners, Marco Rubio (R) and Patrick Murphy (D), combined according to a report by ThinkProgress.
The amendment – “Solar Devices or Renewable Energy Source Devices: Exemption From Certain Taxation and Assessment” – which now will become part of the Florida Constitution, exempts solar and other distributed energy devices installed on commercial and industrial (C&I) property from property taxes for 2o years. That same exemption already is available to residential property owners.
The amendment also exempts renewable energy devices from Florida’s tangible personal property tax.
Amendment 4 was embraced by advocacy groups statewide. Among its supporters were business groups, such as the Florida Retail Federation and Florida Chamber of Commerce, who see the benefit of tax breaks; environmental groups, such as The Nature Conservancy and Florida Conservation Voters, who want more clean energy alternatives; and activist groups such as the League of Women Voters of Florida, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), who sponsored the bill that put the measure on the ballot, joked that he “brought the Baptists and the bootleggers” together to support it, the local news outlet reported. He also said the major utility companies have remained neutral on the amendment.