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Solar-device amendment passes, allowing additional tax exemptions for renewable energy

Amendment 4 gets more than 60 percent required to pass

(Solar Impulse)

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – More than 60 percent of Florida voters said yes to Amendment 4 on Tuesday’s ballot, which allows additional tax exemptions for renewable-energy equipment for homes, commercial property and industrial facilities.

The percentage of the vote is required for such amendments to pass in Florida.

Its passing means that  property owners and business owners can use solar power without being taxed on the equipment, as well as expand that exemption homeowners already have.

The price of solar panels and other renewable-energy devices can’t be taken into consideration during property assessments.

The amendment was placed on the ballot after a unanimous vote in the state Legislature.   

There are some who oppose the measure. 

"Most of that is because we haven't had the policies and the utilities, because they want to sell electricity to people," Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said in a previous interview. "They don't want people having their own power, and have been working against local solar ownership."

Civil rights activist the Rev. Al Sharpton opposed the measure and even flew to Florida to speak out against it in the days leading to the election. Sharpton said the amendment make guarantees for communities of color, involving revenues, jobs and/or services.  

Those who support the measure, including Pamela Goodman, the president of the League of Women Voters of Florida has come out in support of the amendment, saying that it is good for jobs, the economy and the environment.