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AZ Senate OKs longer tax break for solar

Supporters of an effort to help Arizona utilities pay for renewable energy have won a key vote in the Legislature.

The Senate on June 23 approved a bill to extend a property tax break for generating plants using solar, wind and other renewable energy sources.

The tax break currently expires in 2011, but the bill would extend it to 2040.

Utilities contend they need the longer expiration date to help get long-term financing for projects needed to satisfy state mandates on renewable energy.

Critics say the tax break comes at the expense of Arizona taxpayers and leaves the companies involved without an incentive to reduce costs for solar power.

The House has already approved a version of the bill. The Senate's 21-3 vote returns it to the House for expected final approval that would send it to Gov. Janet Napolitano.

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