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Solar, Renewables Tax Break Paying Dividends

May 22nd, 2017 by Mike Vasilinda

State lawmakers may not have been able to agree on medical marijuana, but they wasted no time implementing the solar amendment voters approved last August. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the sponsor calls the voter approved amendment transformational.

A 120 acre solar field is about to spring up on the outskirts of the state Capitol. it will be owned by a private company on land leased from the city. Under legislation implementing the constitutional amendment approved by voters last August, the company, won’t be taxed for 80 percent of the 30 million in panels they install.

“So, it’s a huge incentive for businesses” says Sponsor Jeff Brandes. He says the amendment and implementing legislation will define Florida’s future.

“You’re going to see over the next ten or fifteen years, a significant transition to more solar. And this bill, and they will point to this bill as being one of the impetus’s of that” says Brandes.

The tax break was approved by a bigger percentage of voters than those who said yes to medical marijuana.”

Aliki Moncrief is with Florida Conservation Voters and believes the amendment is a big step forward.

“And even with this amendment alone, it’s going to be a very different place. It’s going to be a cleaner greener energy state” says Moncrief.

The upside for governments or businesses, with no fuel to buy, contractors can offer a steady price for power for twenty or thirty years at a time.

The tax break is expected to be a big incentive for utilities to invest in large scale solar.

“It  doesn’t give us any grief at all that this is an incentive for the utilities to start improving their record on how much solar they are installing” says Moncrief.

Florida now ranks 12th nationally in solar installations. It is expected to be 7th within the next five years, in part because voters said yes last August.

While businesses will still pay 20 percent of the tax that would have been due on solar equipment, homeowners have had a 100% property tax break on solar equipment since 2013. The business break is expected to cot local governments 54 million a year.

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