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From the hybrid technology in the cars we drive to the sustainable food we consume in restaurants, it seems as if environmental awareness now permeates many aspects of our daily lives. Indeed, many homeowners and businesses are now looking to go "off the grid," meaning rely completely on power generated by solar panels, in a bid to protect the environment and save money.

In case you have any doubts about the growing popularity of this alternative energy source, consider that neighboring Georgia generates a significant amount of solar power, seeing the number of solar panels and jobs connected with this industry explode in recent years.

Indeed, experts there are attributing much of this development to the tax breaks offered to homeowners and business owners looking to make the switch to solar.

Interestingly enough, there is currently movement here in Florida to get a similar tax break for solar panels on the books.

On August 30, voters will be asked to vote on Amendment 4, which, if passed, would declare solar panels exempt from the tangible personal property tax from 2018 to 2038.

While the state already has an ad valorem tax abatement for renewable and solar energy devices on residential property in place, supporters claim the amendment would help expand the use of solar energy here in the Sunshine State even further.

Specifically, they argue it would make access to solar power more affordable for homeowners, commercial property owners and real estate developers looking to build multi-unit condominiums and apartments, and spur the development of a new statewide industry to meet the growing demand.      

As for the impact on the state's large utility outfits like Florida Power and Light, supporters claim it would reduce their overall tax liability on both solar panels and other pieces of renewable energy equipment.

It remains uncertain whether Amendment 4 will secure the necessary supermajority vote -- 60 percent -- to pass. Stay tuned for updates …

What this story serves to underscore is that there are many important tax considerations that business owners and developers must account for in their daily operations. As such, they must give serious consideration to consulting with an experienced legal professional who can help them develop a comprehensive tax strategy.       

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