Solar tax exemption bill awaits Governor’s signature

March 14, 2018

SB 902 (Lucas) successfully ended its journey through the General Assembly and now awaits signing by Governor Ralph Northam.

The bill limits local tax exemptions for solar equipment and facilities and provides local options for additional tax exemptions.  Under current law, solar facilities greater than 20 megawatts (MW) in generation capacity are provided a mandatory 80 percent exemption from local taxes.  SB 902 caps this mandatory exemption at facilities of less than 150 MW and enables localities to provide, at their discretion, exemptions for facilities of 150 MW or greater.

Several amendments were introduced throughout this bill’s journey, most importantly one that raised the proposed cap from 100 MW (as initially introduced) to 150 MW.  Additional language was later introduced seeking to clarify the definition of “solar facility” and address the question of how adjacent properties would be considered under the law.  Ultimately, the amendment raising the maximum size was agreed to while the attempt at clarifying language was scrapped.

In its final form, SB 902 passed the House of Delegates, 84-13-1 and the Senate, 35-2.  Since the bill was not acted upon before the General Assembly’s March 10 adjournment, the Governor will now have until April 9 to act on the bill.

VACo was pleased to work with Senator Louise Lucas to craft this legislation and was proud to support it throughout this session.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq. and Joe Lerch, AICP

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