House Moves Forward on Solar Amendment Bill

A proposal to carry out a renewable-energy tax break that voters approved in August continues to move forward in the House, despite arguments the measure could slow the growth of solar energy in Florida.

The House Ways & Means Committee on Wednesday backed the measure (HB 1351), sponsored by Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero. In part, the measure would extend a residential renewable-energy tax break to commercial and industrial properties.

Susan Glickman, Florida director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, raised concerns, including saying that the bill’s language may allow electric utilities, to set standards for solar in their service territories. “That doesn’t make sense, and it is at odds with the passage of Amendment 4,” Glickman said. However, Rep. Joe Geller, D-Aventura, said that while he wants the concerns to be addressed, the overall proposal will help expand the use of solar in the state.

“I think from my look at it, (it) will advance the cause of renewable energy and solar energy in the state of Florida, and I think that’s important,” Geller said. Under the bill, the tax exemptions approved in August’s Amendment 4 would begin in 2018 and last for 20 years.

Voters approved a similar exemption for residential property owners in 2008, with the measure taking effect in 2014. Rodrigues has also included requirements that would establish penalties and disclosure requirements for renewable-energy installers and let the state Public Service Commission set safety, performance, and reliability standards.

Reposted with permission from The News Service of Florida

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