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Florida - Energy tax credit, solar rebates, grants, incentives

Florida Renewable and Solar Energy Incentives

Florida has nearly endless amounts of sunshine which helps compensate for the fact that the State legislature hasn't been particularly helpful to the solar and renewable energy industry.  Florida utilities aren't being helpful either -- they are battling hard against the inevitable growth of renewable solar energy.  

Keep in mind that the Federal Government currently offers a 30% tax credit for the whole installed cost of a solar system.  That, combined with Florida's "sunniest state in the nation" status is a huge benefit to Florida home and business owners committed to going solar.

Florida Renewable Portfolio Standards

Florida has no RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards). This is a regulation that requires the increased production of energy from renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal by a certain date.  Utilities must meet the standards by producing renewable energy or by purchasing it from customers.  They have to pay high fees if the standards aren't achieved.  Utilities in strong RPS state offer solar incentives to homeowners as it is less costly for them than paying high fees.  Since Florida has no RPS, utilities have little reason to aid homeowners in going solar by offering incentives.

Florida RPS Solar Carve Out

Solar carve outs require a certain percentage of the Renewable Portfolio Standards be met with solar energy.  Florida has no solar carve out.

Florida State Electric Rates

Florida's electric rates rank 25th out of fifty states.  A state's electric rates are one of the key factors in predicting whether an investment in solar panels makes sense.  The reason for this is simple:  solar power is in direct contention with electric rates.  Low electric rates make it hard for you to achieve significant payback from your solar power investment.  Higher electric rates make an investment in solar energy much more feasible.  Florida's lower electric rates make investing in solar power less attractive.

Florida Net Metering

Florida offers net-metering.  This is a real plus for purchasers of renewable energy.  Net metering is a system in which home solar panels or other renewable energy generators are linked to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred into the grid, allowing customers to make up for the cost of power drawn from the utility.  When you generate electricity from your solar array for your home or business, it lessens the amount of energy you purchase from your electric utility.  It also reduces your monthly electricity bills.  If your system produces more energy than you need, the excess power is sold back to the grid.  That amount of energy is deducted from your monthly bill or credited toward a future bill.  Your utility pays you for going solar.  

In 2008, Florida's Public Service Commission laid out explicit guidelines for net-metering for the state's investor-owned utilities.  Electric coops and municipal utilities must make net-metering available, but there are no explicit guidelines for them.  Florida has no net-metering capacity limit -- this is great because you can't be restricted from connecting into the grid just because other homeowners in your area have already done so.  

Florida Interconnection Standards      

Florida has favorable interconnection standards for PV systems under 10kW.  Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid.  These rules apply to both electricity customers and utilities.  Strong interconnection standards make it easier for your utility to offer net-metering.  This is a definite advantage when trying to bring a solar energy system online and makes it much easier for a solar power system to make financial sense.

Florida Energy Rebates

Florida does not offer solar power rebates.  Solar power rebates are incentives the federal or state governments offer to reduce the cost of going solar.  

Florida State Energy Tax Credits

Florida offers Solar Power Performance Payments, also know as production incentives (the state ranks 25th in the nation).  Solar Power Performance Payments provide small cash payments based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by a renewable energy system.  Payments based on a system's actual performance are much more effective than payments based on a system's rated capacity.  Electricity produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs).  

Florida Property Tax Exemptions for Energy

Florida offers property tax exemptions for installed solar systems.  Property tax exemptions allow businesses and homeowners to exclude the added value of a system from the valuation of their property for taxation purposes.  A Solar PV system makes your home worth more.  Multiply your yearly electricity savings by 20 to find the  increased value of your home.  (A 5kW Solar PV array adds approximately $17000 to your home's worth.)  A property tax exemption makes it more economically feasible for a taxpayer to install a solar system on a residential or commercial property.  

Florida Sales Tax Exemptions for Energy

Florida offers sales tax exemptions.  A sales tax exemption means that homeowners and businesses would not have to pay any state sales tax on their solar panel system.  That is a 6% savings for Florida home and business owners.

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