Will the Sunshine State Continue Taxing the Sun?

Guest Blog | March 27, 2014 | Press Releases

Leaders in Florida’s House of Representatives Attempt to Maintain Punitive Tax on Solar Systems

Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, Director of Policy & Communications, 865.235.1448, [email protected]

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida’s solar energy industry and clean energy advocates are calling on state Representative Ritch Workman to stop blocking consideration of a resolution that would allow voters to decide whether or not to remove punitive taxes on solar energy systems. The solar industry supports letting the voters decide on the exemption of solar energy systems from the punitive tangible personal property tax. Removing this burdensome tax will unlock Florida’s rooftop solar potential by enabling consumers to leverage third party leasing of solar systems. Third party ownership financing has been key to the U.S. solar boom, yet remains an untapped opportunity in Florida due to this unique tax.

“Removing taxes on solar, especially the onerous tangible personal property tax, will unlock Florida’s solar energy market, providing much needed economic development and jobs to the state,” stated Mike Antheil, Executive Director of the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam, has introduced a resolution that would offer similar tax relief – but the resolution is now being blocked by Rep. Workman. Putnam has indicated that he is open for his bill to be amended to address the tangible personal property tax. Solar supporters are hoping to see the bill amended in the State Senate next Tuesday, April 1st. However, the House leadership appears to be stalling on taking up the measure.

“The Legislature has done virtually nothing to encourage private investment in solar development in the state. It certainly should not be blocking measures that will allow voters to decide on removing onerous taxes that are holding back development and jobs in the solar industry,” said Wayne Wallace, President of Solar Source, and President of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association.

Florida continues to fall behind neighboring states in solar development, including Georgia and North Carolina, despite having the third largest electricity market in the U.S. and best solar resource east of the Mississippi River.

”The solar energy boom sweeping this country is a reflection of the freedom to use solar power that grows from the roots of our democracy,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “Florida citizens should have the right to vote on taxes that are punitive and obstruct this booming market from bringing economic prosperity to the Sunshine State.”

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Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that create global warming solutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org