State Unveiling Solar Farm Amid Wrangling Over Solar Tax

Tennessee lawmakers are eyeing what some see as a tax hike on solar panels in the state. Wrangling over the measure comes as officials are cutting the ribbon on a state-owned solar farm visible from the Interstate in West Tennessee.

Today officials are championing the state as a serious contender in the world of solar, at an array of government-owned panels outside Memphis. Transportation Commissioner John Schroer says the site provides an “educational opportunity.”

“We have major solar industry in the state and we really felt this solar-farm park tells everybody we’re a solar-farm state and here’s what we’re doing.”

Meanwhile, back at the state capitol, Republicans have a bill that would shrink a tax-break for properties with solar panels, which they believe could be unconstitutional. While they don’t want to get rid of it outright, they say the tax-break needs to be smaller. But Jackson Democrat Lowe Finney argues raising taxes on solar would sabotage an emerging industry and cost the state jobs.

The proposal (SB3296/HB3520) is set to go before House and Senate committees next week.

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