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AEE joins others to applaud State Senator Brandes and Rep. Rodrigues for giving FL citizens opportunity to weigh in on growth of solar energy

Posted by Advanced Energy Economy on Mar 10, 2016

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Advanced Energy Economy, Solar Energy Industries Association and Vote Solar Applaud State Senator Brandes and Representative Rodrigues for Giving Florida Citizens Opportunity to
Weigh in on Growth of Solar Energy

Florida lawmakers show leadership by asking voters to remove tax barriers to
solar in the Sunshine State

[Tallahassee, Mar. 10, 2016] Today Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar applauded efforts of Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Representative Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers) for giving Florida citizens an opportunity to weigh in directly on a measure to stimulate deployment of more solar energy. House Joint Resolution 193 puts a constitutional amendment on the Aug. 30 statewide primary ballot for citizens to vote on extending a property tax exemption for renewable energy source devices, including solar, on commercial and residential properties.

“We applaud and thank Senator Brandes and Representative Rodriguez for their leadership on this legislation which will give Florida citizens an opportunity to weigh in directly on expanding solar energy across the state,” said Trish Fields, Vice President, State Partnerships and Strategic Engagement at AEE. “In 2014, the advanced energy industry in Florida, inclusive of solar energy, was valued at $6.2 billion. We look forward to seeing the continued growth of the industry thanks to policies such as this that will allow for economic growth in the Sunshine State.”

“All across America, big and small companies alike are going solar because it’s good for business, and this legislation marks an important step toward bringing those same energy options and economic benefits to the Sunshine State. We applaud Florida lawmakers’ leadership on this issue, and support the business community in its efforts to clear the way for investment in job-creating, cost-saving solar power,” said Scott Thomasson, Director of New Markets at Vote Solar.

“This legislation creates tax fairness for the solar energy industry and will enable the industry to grow in a state with significant solar energy potential,” said Kristen Thornburg, Southeast Regional Manager at SEIA. “We applaud the bill sponsors and the Florida legislature for acting to create solar energy jobs in the Sunshine State.”  

"Florida has tremendous solar resources and with increasingly competitive utility-scale solar power this proposed tax abatement would drive more investment across the state," said Colin Meehan, Director of Regulatory and Public Affairs at First Solar, a leading global provider of advanced PV solar systems. "We have demonstrated to our military, utility and commercial clients, that solar delivers affordable, clean and reliable energy at a predictable rate." 

First Solar, the largest U.S. based solar panel manufacturer, is supplying photovoltaic modules to Coronal Group for use in three solar plants being built on U.S. military installations in Southern Florida: Elgin Air Force Base, Holly Naval Base and Saufley Naval Base will soon be home to solar energy plants capable of generating 120 megawatts of alternating current capacity of electric power, collectively. 

"We are proud to be headquartered in Florida and this proposed tax abatement would encourage more businesses to go solar in our home state," said Gary Kassem, Founder and President, of SunConnect, based in Naples. "We applaud our state leaders who see the economic potential of solar and want to break down barriers and stimulate growth of this clean energy source, using our vast solar resources."

Based in Naples, SunConnect specializes in uniquely tailored solar energy solutions for large-scale commercial, industrial, and retail clients. 

“Thank you to SEIA and Vote Solar for their support regarding HJR 193. The passage of this resolution gives Florida the opportunity to remove tax barriers that currently discourage Florida businesses from utilizing solar and other renewable energy devices,” stated Representative Rodrigues. “This would be a tax cut that is long overdue in the Sunshine State and will provide voters the opportunity to make a positive change on the August 2016 ballot.”

"It was clear to me in my first few meetings with AEE that the organization's business-focused approach to advanced energy technologies would prove to be an invaluable resource to me in passing the solar-related constitutional amendment," said Sen. Jeff Brandes. "I am grateful for the expertise and data they provided to me this session and look forward to working again on a business-minded approach to shaping Florida's energy policy."

If approved by the voters in August, the legislature is authorized to exempt tangible personal property tax on solar or renewable energy source devices installed on commercial and industrial property. This 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. 

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 26 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 companies and organizations in the advanced energy industry. Visit AEE online at

About SEIA®
Celebrating its 42nd anniversary in 2016, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at

About Vote Solar
Vote Solar is a non-profit organization working to foster economic development and energy independence by bringing solar energy to the mainstream nationwide. Learn more at

Media Contacts:

AEE: Monique Hanis,, (202) 391-0884
SEIA: Alex Hobson,, (202) 556-2886
Vote Solar: Rosalind Jackson,, (415) 817-5061

Topics: Press Releases