By Susan Glickman
Taxes are a big reason that Florida – a state with no solar incentives – has 9 million energy customers and yet less than 12,000 rooftop solar systems. By comparison, New Jersey has over 43,000 rooftop systems with half the population and most certainly less sun.
Florida voters will have an opportunity to change that by voting YES on Amendment 4 during the August primary election. The proposed amendment, if passed, will exempt solar systems from taxes for 20 years.
A YES vote on Amendment 4 lowers solar energy costs by lowering taxes on solar installations – because the taxes are passed on to customers in the form of increased solar power prices. That’s a big deal in Florida where a couple cents can make or break the economics of going solar. Better solar economics means more solar development, which lays the groundwork for cleaner air and a more sustainable future for the next generation.
The title and summary of the amendment below can sound complicated, but the concept is simple: lower taxes = lower solar energy costs.
Title and text of Amendment 4 as it will appear on the ballot:
SOLAR DEVICES OR RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE DEVICES; EXEMPTION FROM CERTAIN TAXATION AND ASSESSMENT.
Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to exempt from ad valorem taxation the assessed value of solar or renewable energy source devices subject to tangible personal property tax, and to authorize the Legislature, by general law, to prohibit consideration of such devices in assessing the value of real property for ad valorem taxation purposes. This amendment takes effect January 1, 2018, and expires on December 31, 2037.
Of course there are other policies that are important for strong solar power development in Florida but the Amendment 4 tax exemption for solar power is the most immediate action voters can take to jump-start solar development in the Sunshine State.
Voting is easy in Florida. Votes can be cast 3 ways. Sign up to Vote by Mail at floridasolarvoter.com. Or you can vote early or in person on August 30th. However you choose to vote, be sure to Vote Yes on Amendment 4. Our future will be better for it.
About Susan Glickman:
Susan is the Florida Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy Action Fund. SACE is a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization working to promote responsible energy choices that help to stop global climate change and ensure clean, safe and healthy communities throughout the Southeast.
Susan is also a longtime consultant to The Natural Resources Defense Council. She was the US Southern Region Director for The Climate Group, a London based NGO working with Fortune 500 Companies. Susan also developed and directed The Florida Business Network for a Clean Energy Economy, a coalition of business leaders working together to advance the clean energy economy.
Susan has worked in a variety of issue areas — on tobacco policy with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; on nationwide health-tracking for the John Hopkins School of Public Health and the Trust for America’s Health; as an advocate for federal research funding for prostate cancer with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition.
She was recently awarded “Best of the Bay” by Creative Loafing for Best Fightin’ the Utility Companies and was named by the Tampa Bay Times as one of 10 People to Watch in these turbulent economic times and Creative Loafing’s Green 100 – people, places and businesses leading the way toward a greener Tampa Bay. She has worked on numerous political campaigns including three statewide ballot initiatives, trained candidates and grassroots political organizations in 45 US states and in the former Soviet Union.