You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myPalmBeachPost.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myPalmBeachPost.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myPalmBeachPost.com.

breaking news

Palm Beach socialite’s daughter jailed for stealing jewels, cars from her

House, Senate move closer on implementation of solar Amendment 4


The Florida House and Senate are set to take up proposals that would carry out a voter-approved expansion of a renewable-energy tax break, as bill language appears to have become more agreeable to solar proponents.

Gone from a House proposal (HB 1351) is a controversial provision that would have allowed the state Public Service Commission to set safety, performance and reliability standards.

RELATED: Complete Florida Legislature coverage

The House and Senate are working on the proposals to implement a renewable-energy constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 4, that voters approved during August’s primary election.

Susan Glickman, Florida director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said while concerns linger for some solar contractors, the House proposal is now “vastly improved.”

“The bills are closer, and it’s a good sign that we’ll bring this implementation successfully in for a close,” Glickman said.

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday backed a proposal (SB 90), sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, that is considered a more straightforward implementation of Amendment 4 than the House version.

The voter-backed Amendment 4 calls for extending a residential renewable-energy tax break to commercial and industrial properties. The tax break would be in place for 20 years. A selling point in the amendment was that it also exempts all renewable-energy equipment from state tangible personal property taxes.

Optimism about the proposed bills is tempered in part because the initial tax break voters want to expand was approved at the polls in 2008 yet wasn’t implemented by lawmakers until 2014.

Brandes said the two chambers are getting closer to matching bill language, but he said after the Appropriations Committee meeting he prefers his approach.

“I haven’t heard from one constituent that they’re having a problem with solar contractors,” Brandes said. “I’m of the position of, let’s focus this on what the voters intended it to be, which is on cutting taxes for those individuals who choose to put solar in place and to make it more of a viable option.”

A day earlier, the House Commerce Committee unanimously supported the House version, proposed by Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero. The bill recently drew fire for using language that the Miami Herald reported was “verbatim” from a proposal supplied by Florida Power & Light.

The proposal includes consumer-protection provisions used by Arizona, where solar energy use has been growing.

Before Wednesday’s committee vote, Rodrigues changed his proposal to include a “disclosure” requirement sought by some Amendment 4 proponents and to remove the state regulatory board oversight, which solar proponents argued was a way for giant energy companies in Florida to control the growth of solar.

Still, concerns linger over language in the House bill that solar installers say could allow “transient” companies to provide inferior products with little recourse for homeowners.

“If you’ve got a transient company coming in, with a short-term business plan that may take advantage of consumers, they could put in inferior products, make some money, and then move down the road,” said Patrick Altier, president of the Florida Solar Industries Association.

Rep. Lori Berman, a Lantana Democrat who joined Rodrigues in co-sponsoring last year’s constitutional amendment, supported the recent changes but said she hopes to see some further “tweaks” to address consumer protections when the bill appears on the House floor.

“This is something that we all want to see done,” Berman said. “And hopefully, we’ll get a good product for all Floridians.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

That other time Donald Trump made a blockbuster tax proposal…
That other time Donald Trump made a blockbuster tax proposal…

Trump’s 1999 tax-hike plan as described by the New York Daily News. President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed the outlines of a tax plan that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin described in Trumpian terms as the “biggest tax cut” and “largest tax reform” in American history.
House Republicans look to Trump to fund Obamacare subsidies
House Republicans look to Trump to fund Obamacare subsidies

  Now that House Republicans are officially refusing to fund extra Obamacare subsidies, they're looking to the Trump administration to make the payments — despite having sued the Obama administration for doing just that.   House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., confirmed Wednesday morning that funding for the subsidies, which...
How Trump's tax plan could affect you
How Trump's tax plan could affect you

 The White House unveiled a broad outline Wednesday for a dramatically simpler tax code that could lead to lower tax bills for many ordinary taxpayers but also eliminate many of the tax deductions that Americans currently claim.   President Trump's plan, which did not include many details, could cut taxes for some middle and high-income...
Treasury secretary says Trump 'has no intention' of releasing tax returns
Treasury secretary says Trump 'has no intention' of releasing tax returns

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday that President Donald Trump "has no intention" of releasing his tax returns, which would show the public how much he would benefit personally from the administration's plan to overhaul the tax code.   At a White House news conference to roll out the administration's tax cut proposal...
Winners and losers in the Trump tax plan 
Winners and losers in the Trump tax plan 

The tax plan the Trump administration released Wednesday consists (so far) of a single page of bullet points.   If this were a more rounded plan, we could wait for the tax wonks at various think tanks to run it through their models and tell with some precision how it would affect people at different income levels and who would benefit from...
More Stories