What Are the Recent Florida Solar Energy Amendments (Including Solar Amendment 4)?

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What Are the Recent Florida Solar Energy Amendments (Including Solar Amendment 4)?

Like many states, Florida has enacted several policies over the past few years to help solar grow. Some of these amendments have proven very useful to Florida homeowners. In particular, Solar Amendment 4 has been one of the most important for growing residential solar in Florida.

What Are the Florida Solar Amendments?

In 2016, the Florida State Legislature passed a bundle of policy updates, some of which were meant to encourage residential solar purchases. While Amendment 1 did not pass, Amendment 4 did. Amendments 2, 3, and 5 were concerned with other matters. The amendment which passed helped add another solar incentive to the already existing ones in Florida.

What is Solar Amendment 1?

The first amendment that was up for voting was Amendment 1 — which did not pass. Nevertheless, the campaign for Amendment 1 was important for solar legislation in Florida. Many solar activists were pleased that Amendment 1 failed.  But what were its provisions?

The Provisions of Solar Amendment 1

This amendment would have enshrined a constitutional right to solar for personal use. That would mean that no laws would be able to frivolously stop you from purchasing solar panels for your home. 

However, it also came with a drawback — it would protect any law which would allow non-solar homeowners to abstain from subsidizing residential solar. This would mean that any attempts at community solar legislation would not work, as everyone would be able to opt-out.

Why Solar Amendment 1 Was bad

The amendment was advertised in a misleading manner, according to many public policy experts. It would have destroyed rooftop solar in Florida if allowed to pass. Luckily, Florida voters saw through the deceptive advertising and correctly voted it down.

What Is Solar Amendment 4?

The other main solar amendment that was up for vote in Florida was Amendment 4. Unlike Amendment 1, this one was passed by Florida voters. This amendment was also well regarded by solar educators and activists. 

What Are the Provisions of Solar Amendment 4?

The main part of the amendment is exempting rooftop solar from property tax valuations. Because solar panels are such an investment, this would mean that property taxes could go up significantly. With this amendment, they no longer will. The amendment is yet another reason to go solar in Florida.

Another provision of solar Amendment 4 is that tax exemptions already available to residential solar homeowners are now available to commercial and public solar projects. These exemptions are a large part of solar savings in the Sunshine State. With the extension of the benefits to commercial and public solar projects, it will be easier for solar to become a major part of the landscape of Florida energy. 

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