House Bill 171 was filed late last month seeking to cut the property tax exclusion for equipment used to generate solar energy from 80% to 60%.
As things currently stand, North Carolina General Statutes designate as a special class of property all equipment used directly and exclusively for the conversion of solar energy to electricity, and excludes from property taxation 80% of the appraised value of that property. Passed in 2008, this legislation helped lead to North Carolina becoming home to the second-highest amount of solar installations in the nation by 2015.
Owners of solar property can take advantage of the exclusion by submitting an application with the appropriate county by January 31 of a given tax year. Certain bodies have the discretion to grant a late-filed application, but only if done by the end of the calendar year. Once granted, owners do not need to file new applications in subsequent years.
Meanwhile, South Carolina legislators are working on their own version of North Carolina's 80% exclusion. Proponents of South Carolina's bill point to North Carolina to support their case. South Carolina Senator Greg Gregory sponsored South Carolina's bill, saying that he grew tired of reading about new solar investments in North Carolina, which borders the county he represents.
House Bill 171 has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Public Utilities. If it receives a favorable recommendation, it will move on to Finance.