Over the past decade, Missouri has experienced steady growth in utility-scale solar projects and developers have benefited from a property tax exemption under Section 137.100(10) of the state’s tax code. Since the statutory property tax exemption was passed in 2013, solar facilities have leveraged the tax exemption to offset development and operations costs. Until recently, the solar facility tax exemption had flown largely under the radar, as even the largest solar facilities to come online in Missouri have been smaller than 15 megawatts. Over the last few years, however, Missouri counties have started to see the kind of interest from large utility-scale solar developers that states in the south have been experiencing. But in August of 2022, the Missouri Supreme Court bucked the state’s solar-friendly trend in Johnson v. Springfield Solar 1, LLC, 648 S.W.3d 101 (Mo. 2022), unanimously finding the exemption for “solar energy systems not held for resale” under Section 137.100(10) unconstitutional. The case involved a small solar facility that supplied energy to Springfield, Missouri. The Missouri Supreme Court’s decision means that Springfield Solar 1, LLC could owe Greene County, Missouri more than $400,000 in back property taxes, and more generally, that developers who installed solar equipment in Missouri since 2013 will not be able to rely on the property tax exemption as they had anticipated under the tax code.
Anna focuses her practice on energy project development. Since joining the firm, Anna has represented developers, tax equity investors and lenders in the acquisition, funding and financing of wind and utility-scale solar projects across the country.