New California Law Expands Tax Exemptions For Solar Projects

Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., has signed into law A.B.15, which revises existing law in order to formally broaden the availability of property-tax reassessment exemptions – a key incentive – for solar installations.

Sponsored by Democratic Caucus Chair Jerry Hill, the legislation makes solar installations that undergo transactions such as sale-leaseback arrangements or partnership-flip structures eligible for the same exemptions from property tax-rate reassessment that systems financed through other methods can utilize. Carport systems were also formally made eligible.

‘As long as the active solar energy system is newly constructed or added and another taxpayer has not received an exclusion for the same active solar energy system, it is the intent of the legislature that the purchaser of the active solar energy system in a transaction such as that described above receive an exclusion,’ the legislature's analysis of the bill states.

Although these types of solar installations already had been taking advantage of tax exemptions, the existing state law was ambiguous, Hill told the San Mateo Daily Journal. His legislation was intended to clarify the incentives' availability and create more certainty for solar companies doing business in California.

In fact, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal, the new law is expected to streamline plans for SunEdison, currently headquartered in Baltimore, to move its headquarters to Belmont, Calif. Because the move was conditional upon the approval of Hill's legislation, the company had been working closely with the assemblyman to craft the bill and send it through California's legislature.

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