Sen. Jeff Brandes has filed legislation to implement a constitutional amendment to give tax breaks to companies that buy and install solar devices and equipment.
The St. Petersburg Republican filed Senate Bill 90, the Amendment 4 implementing bill Thursday.
“The voters of Florida spoke loud and clear that they expect the sunshine state to make the expansion of solar and renewable energy a priority,” said Brandes in a statement Thursday. “I have been committed to diversifying our energy portfolio, and I am excited about the opportunity to bring further investment in solar and renewable energy production. This legislation has broad, bipartisan support and I look forward to an early passage of this important bill in the 2017 Session.”
The amendment removed the state’s tangible personal property tax, which taxes solar equipment installed. It also authorizes the Legislature to prohibit the devices from being considered when assessing the value of the property for tax purposes. Removing those tax barriers means more large scale commercial property owners might begin installing solar panels or other renewable energy devices.
The ballot initiative passed with 73 percent support in August. While supporters were criticized for the decision to put it on the primary ballot, Brandes said recently he thinks the decision was “absolutely the right one.”
A House companion bill has not yet been filed. Brandes said last week he hopes House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, who supported the effort to get the amendment on the ballot in 2016, will sponsor the House implementing bill.