SC General Assembly Considers Property Tax Exemptions for DG

The South Carolina General Assembly is moving ahead with a measure (S. 626) introduced by Sen. Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster) that would provide property tax exemptions to incentivize renewable energy use.

The Senate already has passed the bill – which would create an 80 percent property tax exemption for alternative energy equipment installed on commercial projects, as well as a 100 percent exemption for residential distributed generation (DG) property. Residential property with a nameplate capacity of not more than 20 kilowatts (kW)is generally not taxed now.

The exemption would sunset after 10 years, provided that the system became operational after property tax year 2012 and before property tax year 2021.

“The idea was [that] in order to get these renewable energy businesses competitive, they need to have some help on the property-tax end,” Sen. Robert Hayes (R-York County) told the local Bluffton News. “It’s something that they really need to kind of jumpstart a lot of the renewable energy.”

Nearly 600 solar installations – mostly residential – in the Palmetto State already may be eligible for the exemptions, according to the South Carolina Energy Office. Initially, the bill is projected to reduce local property tax collections by $81,000, according to the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office.

The bill has been in the House for consideration since March 3; on May 3, it was recommitted to the Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.

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