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2023 Solar Incentives in Florida (Rebates, Tax Credits & Exemptions, and Solar Loans)

Florida has become a leader in solar energy adoption in the United States, with over 9,800 megawatts of solar power installed as of Q3 2022. The state’s abundant sunshine and efforts to promote renewable energy have contributed to the solar industry’s growth. Talking about the sunshine in Florida, you know it is called the Sunshine State for a reason.

In addition to above-the-average peak sun hours, there are various solar incentives in Florida for homeowners and businesses to install solar panels, including tax credits, grants, and net metering. These incentives, combined with the long-term financial benefits of solar energy, make Florida attractive for those looking to reduce their energy costs and carbon footprint.

In this article, we will explore the top solar incentives available in Florida and how they can help you switch to solar and save money.

Solar incentives in Florida

Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)

The Clean Energy Credit is a 30% federal tax credit against your income tax. The qualifying expenses include almost everything required for a functioning solar system, including solar panels, wiring, inverters, solar batteries, and inspection, permitting, and installation costs. Anyone who is a federal taxpayer and installs a new system on their principal or secondary residence is eligible to claim the incentive.

Any equipment intended to be submitted for the tax credit must be certified for performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable energy entity endorsed by the state government in which the property is installed. Also, the incentive will fall to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034. In 2035, there won’t be any tax credit for residential solar installation.

Here is how this works: If your system is worth $24,000, after the Income Tax Credit, it will become $16,800. Do not have enough tax liabilities? Not a problem—you can carry over the credit to the next tax year.

Did you know?

Manatee Solar Energy in Parrish was developed by Florida Power & Light and came online in 2016, and in 2021 it added 900 MW of battery storage.

Source: seia.org

Florida net metering policy

Net metering helps solar system owners to sell their excess electricity to the grid. Our solar systems are generally designed to meet our energy demands both in summer and winter. In summer, since the peak sun hours are plenty, our systems often generate more energy than needed at home during the day. That energy is exported to the grid, for which the utilities give the seller renewable energy credits (RECs). You can use those RECs at night, or any time your system doesn’t generate enough electricity.

In Florida, the state has mandated a net metering policy since as late as 2008. The Florida Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requires all investor-owned utilities to offer net metering to their customers. The PUC doesn’t have authority over municipal utilities and electric cooperatives.

However, H.B. 7135 required municipal utilities and electric cooperatives to “develop a standardized interconnection agreement and net metering program for customer-owned renewable generation.” Since the state mandates net metering, you could have access to net metering irrespective of where you live.

Be it commercial or residential properties, you can qualify for net metering. You should be only cautious of your system’s size—it must not exceed 2 MW. Your net excess generation is rolled over to your next bill at the retail rate, the price at which the utility sells you electricity. However, your grid will reconcile any unused credits at the end of your annual billing cycle at the avoided-cost rate.

Florida Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing

PACE is a decent step towards empowering Floridians to switch to solar without spending thousands of dollar upfront. With PACE financing, homeowners and businesses can borrow money typically at below-the-market interest rates for home energy improvements, including solar installation. The term and interest rate remain fixed, with the term possibly being as long as the life of the energy upgrade program.

To qualify for the program, you must have paid your property taxes and not have been delinquent for the previous three years. Also, the total assessment of your energy upgrade, in your case solar, cannot be more than 20% of the property’s estimated value.

There are two types of PACE programs. “Residential PACE” (R-PACE) caters to small residential properties with 1 to 4 family members. Whereas “Commercial PACE” (C-PACE) is for multifamily households (5+ family members), hotels, industrial sites, and other commercial properties. Some states have only allowed R-PACE, some C-PACE, and some both. That said, not all counties and local governments offer PACE financing in Florida.

As per DSIRE, counties that offer PACE programs include Flagler, Gadsden, Gulf, Indian River, Jefferson, Loen, Martin, Miami-Dade, Nassau, Palm Beach, Pinellas, and St. Lucie. If you do not see your county mentioned here, check with your local administration to see if they offer the program.

Florida Property Tax Abatement for Renewable Energy Property

Solar adds value to your property—the increase in value could be as high as 4%. But some states, including Florida, have exempted solar properties from any additional property tax.

As per the Florida Statutes § 193.624, all residential solar systems installed on or after January 1, 2013, are 100% exempt from property tax for the added value. Whereas non-residential solar systems installed after January 1, 2018, will have 80% of property tax exempted for any added value. The incentive will remain intact till 2037. 

Qualify systems include solar energy collectors, photovoltaic modules, inverters, storage tanks, and other storage systems, to name a few.

Florida Sales Tax Exemption

Florida is one of the oldest states that has exempted solar homes from additional property taxes. The law was first enacted in 1997 for five years. In 2002, the state extended it for another three years, but in 2005, the exemption was made permanent through the enactment of H.B. 805.

So, unlike many other states, residents of the Alligator State do not have to pay the 6% of sales tax on their solar system. This means you save 6% on the first day you buy your solar system. Note, however, that your solar equipment must be certified by Florida Solar Energy Sector to be eligible for the sales tax exemption.

Local solar incentives in Florida

There are no state-sanctioned solar rebates in Florida, but some utilities and municipalities do offer some incentives. For example, JEA runs Jacksonville Solar Battery Storage Incentive Program through which residents can earn up to $2,000 in rebate for installing a solar energy storage system. Orlando offers the same incentive through their Orlando Utilities Commission Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Customers of Lakeland Electric can also get up to $1,000 on solar battery installation.

Similarly, Tallahassee provides up to $20,000 easy loans, with low-interest rates and no down payment for solar photovoltaic equipment. The City of Lauderhill is not far behind in offering solar loans—but they have placed a maximum cap of $2,500 on their incentive. Still better!

Apart from what we mentioned above, many other utilities and municipalities may offer solar grants, rebates, or other solar incentives in Florida. If you want to know what your utility or municipality offers, check with DSIRE, a database of all the solar incentives.

To conclude, Florida has some of the best solar incentives in the country.

Given the higher consumption of electricity in Florida and comparably low solar prices, these incentives can help homeowners save big on solar.

While they can save up to 40% upfront with the federal tax credit and sale tax exemption, other incentives, such as net metering and property tax exemption, can save you over $20,000 over your system’s lifespan.

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Call us today to get a quote on solar panels, inverters, and battery packs. We're sure we can beat any other quote you have!.

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