Floridians, you should be proud of yourselves today. On Aug. 30, you struck a blow for solar sanity, restoring the tax exemptions for both residential and commercial solar installations, thereby removing a lot of the confusion that had existed over the past few years since the exemption had been taken away.
As I discussed elsewhere on the blog, Amendment 4 exempts solar panels from being included in property-tax valuations for commercial enterprises which, in conjunction with the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) and lower electricity bills, could be an enormous windfall for Florida businesses.
Though it’s not anticipated to make businesses rush to install solar just yet, it will move previously stalled projects forward. Until Amendment 4 passed, it was nearly impossible to project a payback time for commercial customers because the tax situation was so unsettled. Some jurisdictions were taxing solar arrays. Others were not. Still others were waiting for clarification.
How would you like to be a commercial solar investor and not know if your investment would be taxed at some point in the future — potentially extending your payback time and landing you with an unexpected bill for thousands of dollars you hadn’t anticipated? Yeah, you’d think twice (and possibly thrice) about making that investment, wouldn’t you?
Fortunately, all those worries are in the past. Amendment 4 is a Florida Constitutional amendment, meaning it won’t be overturned by some fossil-fuel owned legislator in Tallahassee. So the Florida solar industry won Round One.
Unfortunately, industry advocates in the state can’t take a breather because there’s the odious Amendment 1 on the ballot in November that the solar industry must fight against. No rest for the righteous, I guess.
But let’s at least pause briefly today to heap praise on the wise voters of Florida and congratulate our colleagues in the industry. You fought a valiant fight, and this time, you won.
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