The combination of federal incentives and utility programs — alongside Florida’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program — has made solar more affordable than ever before. Thus creating a boom in solar panel installations in Florida, as more homeowners become aware of the huge savings solar energy offers.
So, how can you get in on these savings?
In this blog, we will break down the various incentives available to Florida homeowners.
Depending on the installer, the cost of solar power in Florida can often be as cheap as $2.88/watt. This puts an average 6 kW solar system at $17,280 before claiming any incentives. While that’s a lot of money, this is rarely the amount you’ll actually pay after all incentives are factored in.
What solar incentives are available in Florida?
Solar incentives currently available in Florida:
The 30% federal ITC allows tax-paying homeowners to claim 30% of their solar system’s cost as a deduction on their income taxes. This is essentially a 30% discount on your solar system. If your tax liability is less than 30% of your solar system’s cost, you can roll the remaining balance over to the next period for up to 10 years.
After purchasing your solar system, fill out form 5695 when you file your taxes. Here is a guide you can follow on how to claim the solar tax credit.
Despite the substantial cost to install solar power in Florida your property — and the resulting boost to your home’s selling price — you will be exempt from paying taxes on the value added to your home. Alongside the utility savings, this is a great selling point when listing your home on the real estate market.
With all the sunshine in Florida, it’s very likely that at times your solar system will produce too much energy for your home. This excess power is exported to the grid, and net metering means your utility must compensate you at the rate you pay for power. Every 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of power sent to the grid is 1 kWh off of your electricity bill; this is how solar pays for itself.
Provided you size your system correctly you should be able to wipe out all or at least most of your electric bill.
The cost of solar power in Florida and America as a whole has been on a steady decline. Ten years ago solar was close to $7.00/watt; most Florida residents now pay $2.88 per watt— which is a real bargain.
Image credit: Seia
As you can see, the declining price of solar panels has led to a drastic increase in the number of installed systems. Less solar was installed in 2017 compared to 2016, but this was mainly because the 30% tax credit was scheduled to expire at the end of 2015. Smart homeowners rushed to purchase systems before the expiry of the credit, which led to a surge in installations the following year.
However, the federal ITC was subsequently extended until 2021. However, the full 30% figure for the tax credit is only available until end 2019.
Installing a properly sized renewable energy system in Florida can save you up to $80,000 in avoided electricity costs. This is about average for the United States. To maximize your savings you can always change to a cheaper rate plan and purchase energy efficient appliances for your home. Many local cities and utilities offer rebates and tax breaks on energy-efficient appliances. A great site that specializes in energy efficiency and solar incentives is cutmybill.com.
The image above demonstrates the change in an electricity bill for example homeowner who switches to solar. As you can see the utility savings outweigh the loan payments meaning you can start saving money from Day 1. Once the balance of the loan is paid off you’ll essentially have free power. Solar energy in Florida can usually save system owners upwards of $80,000 over the 25 year warranted life of their solar system.
The state of Florida allows for localities to offer loans which are paid for through a property tax increase to your local government. PACE loans can finance not just solar systems, but most energy efficiency upgrades as well. The benefit of PACE is that you can start saving money on your utility bills day one, and if you choose to move house you can pass the remaining balance on the loan to the next property owner. This is why PACE is different to regular solar loans.
The new owner can elect to keep paying the loan or have the equipment removed, although it’d be unwise to do so as the savings from solar would far outweigh the loan payments.
Check with your local county to see which PACE programs are offered in your area. The other, easier option is to approach your local solar installer, like Evergreen Homes of South Florida . They can advise you about your options and help you sort out the required paperwork.
The following counties have PACE financing programs:
Palm Beach County
Remember, these are only the counties which have communities with active PACE projects, and the programs aren’t always available county-wide.
Provided you don’t have overdue taxes or mortgage payments or are part of a bankruptcy filing, you should have no trouble qualifying for PACE.
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