Assessors want solar tax policies modernized

Existing policy was made decades ago

BOSTON (WWLP) – State assessors lobbied lawmakers in Boston Wednesday, in an effort to update solar tax policies.

Assessors told 22News that the current law giving solar property owners a tax break is outdated and unclear. They hope lawmakers will clear up some of the law’s gray areas.

Western Massachusetts has several designated “Green Communities,” including Greenfield, Amherst, and Northampton, which are investing in reliable energy sources, like solar and wind.

The bill being backed by assessors would clarify who can receive tax relief from the state for owning solar or wind-powered property. One assessor told 22News that the law is unclear when it comes to for-profit solar companies with large solar fields, such as the solar farm on Russellville Road in Westfield.

They hope that the proposal will make the law clear and speed-up the timeframe to get tax breaks for solar property owners.

“The actual exemption isn’t keeping up with what technology actually does. It was done decades ago when solar energy was basically panels on your roof and batteries in your basement,” Lane Partridge of the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers said.

Western Massachusetts representatives Gailanne Cariddi (D-North Adams) and Jose Tosado (D-Springfield) support the bill.