AEE Applauds Florida Legislature for Passing Senate Bill 90 to
Encourage the Growth of Solar Energy in Florida
National business group hails the leadership of Sen. Jeff Brandes for spearheading legislation to implement Amendment 4 approved by voters
Washington, D.C., May 3, 2017 — Today, business group Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) applauded the Florida legislature for passing Senate Bill 90 (SB 90), “Renewable Energy Source Devices,” which extends a property tax exemption for renewable energy installations, including solar, wind, and geothermal, on both commercial and residential properties. The legislation implements the Amendment 4 ballot initiative passed by Florida voters in the statewide primary in August 2016. It passed with 73 percent of the vote, well above the required 60 percent necessary to adopt an amendment of the state constitution. The Senate approved SB 90 by a 34-0 vote on April 28, and the House approved it unanimously today by a 118-00 vote.
“Florida has long been a market ripe for advanced energy growth, and Amendment 4 showed that advanced energy growth is what the voters want,” said Maria Robinson, associate director of energy policy and analysis for AEE. “By passing this bill to implement Amendment 4, the legislature has removed a critical barrier to growth, allowing for more residential and commercial customers to enjoy the benefits of advanced energy options like solar power, and spurring advanced energy companies to grow their businesses and create jobs in Florida. We recognize the unflagging leadership of SB 90 sponsor Sen. Jeff Brandes, and look forward to working with him and House co-sponsor Rep. Ray Rodrigues to ensure the growth of the advanced energy industry in Florida.”
"We applaud Sen. Brandes and Rep. Rodrigues for their leadership on this implementing legislation for Amendment 4,” said Gary Kassem, president of SunConnect, a solar energy project developer. Based in Naples, SunConnect specializes in uniquely tailored solar energy solutions for large-scale commercial, industrial, and retail clients. “The overwhelming public support for the Amendment shows that the expansion of solar is a top priority for Floridians, and that it can be done in a way to both stimulate the economy and create more jobs."
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) The House-passed version goes back to the Senate for concurrence before moving on to the Gov. It's uncertain what timing will be at this point, however given unanimous passage in both chambers, we do expect this bill to cross the finish line before the end of session, which was extended to Monday for budget passage only.
Background on SB 90
This legislation implements Amendment 4, which exempts tangible personal property tax on solar or other renewable energy source devices installed on commercial and industrial property. Ultimately, 80 percent of the assessed value of a renewable energy source device, which is considered tangible personal property and is installed on real property on or after January 1, 2018, will be exempt from ad valorem taxation. SB 90 reflects an extension of the existing tax abatement for solar and renewable energy devices on residential property. Once implemented by the legislature, the tax incentives would begin in 2018 and extend for 20 years. The Amendment 4 ballot initiative was offered in the 2016 legislative session by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg), along with Representatives Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers) and Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach). It was passed by the Florida legislature in March of that year.
In 2015, advanced energy jobs in Florida, including solar energy, reached 140,000 workers, more than twice as many as in agriculture and more than in real estate, with advanced energy jobs expected to grow 4 percent this year. A report by Navigant Research for AEE valued the Florida advanced energy market at $6.2 billion in revenue in 2014.
About Advanced Energy Economy
Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. AEE and its State and Regional Partner organizations are active in 27 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 companies and organizations in the advanced energy industry. Visit AEE online at www.aee.net.