Solar power plants are a recent addition to construction in B.C. This has led to a number of questions regarding the property tax and assessment processes for these facilities.
Are solar power plants assessable and taxable?
Yes, solar power plants are both assessable and taxable in B.C.
The assessment function in B.C. is completed by BC Assessment, a Crown corporation. The taxation functions are handled by either municipalities or the B.C. surveyor of taxes.
What portions of a solar power plant are assessable?
The land of a solar power plant is assessable whether it is owned in fee simple or is occupied Crown land.
All of the improvements of a solar power plant are assessable except for the following item:
- photovoltaic solar panels, but not foundation or racking, or mounting systems associated with the panels.
- any generators.
How is the assessed value of a solar power plant determined?
The assessed value of a solar power facility is based on two components: the land value and the improvement value.
Land containing electrical generation facilities are assessed based on the actual or market value. If the solar power plant is located on leased land, the market value of that land is based only on the area under occupation.
The assessed values of the improvements of a solar power plant are determined using prescribed cost manuals. These manuals provide the guidelines and assessed value rates which are applied to each improvement within the facility. The solar power plant components in the manuals were developed in collaboration with the solar power industry in 2019 and have been approved by government for use on the 2020 assessment roll.
What property class do wind power facilities plants fall into?
In B.C., properties have a classification assigned to them based on their use. This property classification determines which property tax rates apply to that property.
Properties used for solar power electrical generation fall into property Class 02 – Utilities.
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Disclaimer: Where information presented is different from legislation, legislation shall prevail.