South Carolina legislation exempting leased solar projects from property taxes awaits governor’s signature
Last week, the South Carolina state legislature approved H. 3354, which exempts rented and third-party residential solar systems from real estate taxes. This exemption already applies to solar customers who own their systems. The new legislation puts all solar energy customers on an equal footing when it comes to tax treatment.
H. 3354 will prevent double taxation of solar customers and will help support South Carolina’s growing rooftop solar market.
“H. 3354 will send a strong signal that the South Carolina rooftop solar market is open for business,” said Will Giese, SEIA Regional Director Southeast. and support our communities with private investment and local employment We urge Governor McMaster to sign this bill into law so that South Carolina can remain both a national and regional leader in rooftop solar energy. “
The property tax changes are in line with the legislative intent of the Energy Freedom Act, passed in 2019, to protect South Carolina solar customers and maintain their choice to freely access solar power. Representative Ballentine (District 71), is a champion of H 3354 and the historic Energy Freedom Act.
“Rooftop solar power provides South Carolina residents with an affordable and reliable way to generate their own electricity,” said Nathan Ballentine, South Carolina State Representative. “This year I proudly sponsored H. 3354, a bill that protects consumers from tax increases on their solar panels. Thanks to my colleagues in the General Assembly for their overwhelming vote for this rooftop solar tax exemption and for ensuring that we keep our taxes low in South Carolina. “
In South Carolina, the property taxes associated with solar leases and systems owned by third parties have a discouraging effect on potential solar customers. The changes in H 3354 could unleash the economic benefits of rooftop solar in Palmetto state. Third-party lease and ownership models can significantly increase the accessibility of rooftop solar energy, as they help minimize initial costs and customers can see immediate savings on their electricity bills.
“We are encouraged that the South Carolina legislature has once again been on the side of energy choice,” said Tyson Grinstead, policy director at Sunrun. “H. 3354 provides protection against increased loads for our customers and helps expand access to solar energy in the state of Palmetto.”
The property tax change follows a major net measurement decision by the South Carolina Public Service Commission in late April. The committee unanimously rejected Dominion’s proposal, which would have resulted in excessive fixed and variable costs for rooftop solar customers. Instead, the committee adopted SEIA’s joint proposal and maintained the net measurement in South Carolina.
Taken together, the policies underscore the value of local, resilient solar energy for all South Carolina people, while also emphasizing customer choice and energy freedom.
The bill, which received near-unanimous support, now goes to Governor McMaster for signing.
News item from SEIA