Virginia state officials recently passed Bill S418, which amends §§58.1-3660 and 58.1-3661. These statutes have been expanded to include solar energy in the definition of “pollution control property.” Effective January 1, 2015, businesses owning or using solar energy equipment, devices, or facilities are also exempt from real and personal property taxes. Such equipment and property must be used to “collect, generate, transfer, or store thermal or electric energy.” The statute also states that this property tax exemption is extended to equipment regardless of whether it has been certified by a state-certifying authority to the Department of Taxation. For electric energy (more officially referred to as solar photovoltaic) systems to qualify for the exemption, the systems must be twenty megawatts or less.
In addition to updating the pollution control property to include solar energy systems, the new legislation also updates the certifying authority from the Department of Waste Management Department to the Department of Environmental Quality (http://www.deq.virginia.gov/). This is not a new change; waste management became part of DEQ in 1993. While legislators were adding amendments to the legislation, they went ahead and updated the name to reflect its most current and accurate process.
To read the amended legislation, visit http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?141+ful+CHAP0259.