Lawmakers send solar measure to governor


A plan to carry out a constitutional amendment designed to expand the use of solar- and other renewable-energy devices is ready to go to Gov. Rick Scott.

The Senate voted 33-0 on Thursday to accept House changes to the plan (SB 90), which would establish rules for implementing the amendment --- approved by 72.6 percent of voters last August --- that will extend a renewable-energy tax break to commercial and industrial properties.

“Reducing property taxes on solar and renewable energy devices will bring more solar energy to Florida,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican who sponsored what was known as Amendment 4 last year.

A spokeswoman for Scott said his office will review the bill when it arrives.

The tax break would be in place for 20 years and is an extension of a break already provided to residential properties.

A selling point of the constitutional amendment was that it would make renewable-energy equipment exempt from state tangible personal property taxes.

The Senate initially voted 34-0 last week to approve the bill.

The House then made changes before unanimously approving the bill Wednesday and sending it back to the Senate.

Tom Kimbis, executive vice president for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said Thursday the bill provides “strong protections and increased transparency for consumers, helping ensure they fully understand solar transactions.”