The people of Florida have spoken, and they want the Sunshine State to start living up to its name. Florida voters overwhelmingly approved (73 to 27 percent) a constitutional amendment that’ll provide property tax breaks for people who install solar panels – the increased value a PV system provides can’t be considered when the commercial or residential property is assessed to determine property taxes.
“Thanks to this vote, the Sunshine State is going to see a lot more solar installed and see the jobs that go with it grow,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy. “Approval of Amendment 4 by the voters shows that Floridians want to make it cheaper and easier for homeowners and businesses to get the renewable energy they want. We thank Senator Brandes and Representatives Rodriguez, Berman, and Eagle for their leadership in this successful effort. We look forward to seeing the continued growth of Florida’s advanced energy industry thanks to policies like this that will spur economic growth and create jobs across the state.”
This isn’t the end of the road for solar legislative battles in the state. Amendment 1, a utility-backed measure would prohibit Floridians from selling their electricity to third parties and take measures to make sure nonsolar adopters do not “subsidize” those who do install a system.
Anyway, by backing this amendment, voters are also backing jobs in their state. 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.
— Solar Builder magazine