WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted unanimously Monday to amend the county's Sales and Compensating Use Tax to exempt the sale and installation of commercial solar energy systems equipment from existing county sales tax.
Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) proposed the legislation in the Environment & Energy Committee, of which she is a member.
The board approved a similar act in May 2011 exempting installation of residential solar equipment from county sales taxes, a landmark law that was later passed and signed into law on the state-level by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“The best way to support solar-based business is to make installations more economically viable,” said Borgia in a news release issued by the county.
“(...) It made perfect sense to extend this financial benefit to county business owners and commercial enterprises as well. This legislation meets three goals: it supports the county’s green economy and creates new jobs, provides opportunities for Westchester businesses to see long-term savings on energy costs, and reduces greenhouse gases caused during the production of electricity," she said.
Doug Hertz, principal of a Westchester solar company, Sunrise Solar Solutions, played a large role in initiating the act by lobbying Borgia.
He told The Daily Voice, "We are extremely proud to have worked with Catherine Borgia, [Majority Leader] Pete Harckham and the Westchester County legislature to make this sales tax exemption for commercial solar a reality."
"Even a few percent off of the cost of a solar proposal can tip the balance to a sale, helping to support our young, but growing industry. The solar energy field is on its way to becoming a significant force in New York State. With this act, Westchester has helped ensure that the county will remain a regional leader in renewable energy, creating new, green jobs, and keeping our county's environment healthy," Hertz said.
Harckham (D-North Salem) said, “The economic benefits to small businesses that produce and install these systems, and the green jobs that will likely be created, are only two of the many benefits that are sure to come as a result of this tax-saving initiative."
“In addition, participating business owners will be contributing to a cleaner environment," he said.