In the Florida Senate, the Communications, Energy & Public Utilities Committee voted unanimously (5-0) on February 7 to approve a measure (SB 90) sponsored by State Senator Jeff Brandes (R-District 24) that exempts solar and renewable energy devices from property taxes on real and tangible personal property installed on commercial and industrial property.
The legislation was filed in the Senate as the implementation bill for Amendment 4 – The Florida Property Tax Exemptions for Renewable Energy Equipment Amendment – which was approved by nearly 73 percent of the state’s voters in an August primary election.
The new law would extend already existing tax programs for residential properties and add exemptions for commercial and industrial properties. The exemptions granted by Amendment 4 were set to begin in 2018 and continue for 20 years
“This bill will further encourage growth in clean energy jobs in our state,” the St. Petersburg Republican told Florida Politics. “We will be in a better position to take advantage of increased energy diversity while addressing environmental concerns. Florida should be a leader in solar, and the passage of this bill brings us one step closer to that reality.”
“This bill comes at just the right time to grow the market in Florida, as The Solar Foundation announced today that Florida gained 1,700 solar jobs in 2016,” said Scott Thomasson, director of New Markets for Vote Solar, in a formal statement. “
Randy Miller, CEO of the Florida Retail Federation told the Orlando Sentinel, “This legislation not only will lower the cost of solar energy in Florida; it will send a strong signal to companies interested in solar options that the Sunshine State is open for business. There are more than 450 solar companies in Florida employing more than 6,500 people. Those are good local jobs that cannot be outsourced — and we need more of them. Despite Florida’s sunny reputation, the state ranked 17th in total installed solar capacity nationwide, but we are optimistic that Amendment 4 will help Florida climb closer to the top.”