I’m sending an open letter to Commissioner Putnam asking him to demonstrate leadership on these issues. You can send a letter of your own below.
Dear Commissioner Putnam,
As cabinet level Commissioner with responsibility for the Florida State Energy Office, I look to you for leadership on energy issues in our state. I strongly disagree with your statement that the “appetite is not here” for growing renewables in Florida. In fact, the numbers show that an overwhelming number of Floridians support expanding solar in the state. What’s actually missing is leadership and good policy, much of which could come from your office. A prime example is your failure to target the biggest barrier to the growth of the Florida solar energy market: the tangible property tax against solar equipment. Solar industry leaders have met with you and attempted to explain that this burdensome tax is stifling the solar market. Your response has been merely window dressing. You have advocated for the commercial property tax relief despite knowing full well that this is the wrong tax to target as it does very little to allow solar leasing programs to expand in Florida. A successful model for solar expansion in other states has been for companies to install solar on customers’ homes and lease the solar energy systems to customers at prices lower than their current bills. In Florida, solar companies cannot currently make the numbers add up because Florida taxes the solar equipment as “tangible property” at a high assessed value. This kills the market and the job growth that would come with it. It is time to get serious about growing the solar market in Florida. I ask for your support in adding an abatement of the tangible property tax to the ballot this fall as a referendum. Let the people vote on this important issue. If we are going to do real tax reform aimed at growing the Florida solar market and the jobs that come with it, let’s focus on the tax that really matters. Anything less is just political games.
If you’re as fed up as I am, click here to send a letter of your own to Commissioner Putnam asking him to get serious about growing Florida’s solar market.