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Palm Beach Post: Florida Solar Amendment 4 moves one step closer to implementation

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

By Susan Salisbury 

Amendment 4, a pro-solar tax abatement measure approved by 73 percent of Florida voters last August, is one step closer to being implemented.

Late Tuesday, House Majority leader Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Fort Myers,  filed an amendment to the House implementation bill, HB 1351, which passed the House Commerce Committee unanimously Wednesday morning.

“Today, we took a big step toward passing solar legislation in the House Commerce Committee that will protect Floridians and enact the will of the voters of Amendment 4,” Rodrigues said.  “House Bill 1351 is largely supported by the solar industry and will allow for proper consumer protections as well as tax exemptions to take place.”

The Senate version of an Amendment 4 implementation bill, SB 90, will be heard in the Senate Appropriation Committee Thursday morning.

Amendment 4 is viewed by many as a catalyst for growth in Florida’s solar industry. Once the law is enacted, the renewable energy equipment such as solar panels and windmills will be exempt from state tangible property taxes. And property appraisers cannot consider the equipment when calculating a property’s assessed value. The amendment extends these exemptions, which homeowners have enjoyed since 2013, to businesses.

“We would like to thank Representative Ray Rodrigues and Senator Jeff Brandes for listening to Floridians who have once again made their voices heard on energy policy by contacting their elected officials to ask for a clean implementation bill,” said Tory Perfetti of Floridians for Solar Choice. “We are hopeful that the current versions of the House and Senate bills honor the will of the voters and will not add onerous burdens to small Florida businesses. A clean implementation bill for Amendment 4 will be a win for good energy policy for this great state, its business community, and all of its citizens.”

Stephen Smith of Floridians for Solar Choice and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said,  “We applaud Representative Ray Rodrigues for making important improvements to his bill that will help all segments of the solar market grow in the Sunshine State.

“Deploying more solar power means good local jobs, more customer choice and a cleaner environment. We look forward to the Florida House and Senate implementing the will of the Florida voters and passing this historic legislation in the closing days of this legislative session,” Smith said.

Tom Kimbis with the Solar Energy Industry Association  and Scott Thomasson with Vote Solar also applauded the committee’s passage of the bill.

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