The state Senate voted 38-4 on Feb. 7 on a bill (S. 44) that would provide an 80 percent property tax exemption to commercial solar enterprises that invest in South Carolina. The measure would also exempt residential solar investment from property taxes. A similar bill died last year in the House. The new bill is now in a House committee where it will sit for a couple of weeks as the House debates the state budget.
Investors say without the tax break, it doesn’t make business sense to plow the money into solar farms. Too much capital is required on the front end, they say, without enough incentives to make the numbers work.
So for now, plans are on hold to build at least 91 commercial solar farms, an investment of $1.4 billion according to the industry.