Florida, the Sunshine State, is a great state for solar. However, as of 2012 the state still has lackluster state incentives for renewables compared to other states in the sunbelt, like California or Nevada. That being said it does offer some incentives for residential solar electric to homeowners like rebates, tax exemptions and PACE programs, but most incentives are only offered on a local basis. Like some other parts of the U.S. southeast, electricity in Florida has been cheap, largely because of coal-fired power plants north of the state’s border.
Homeowners in Florida wanting to go solar should check with their utility and local installers to learn more about local incentives. Links to utilities’ programs can be found below. Customers in Florida can also net meter their PV systems. Photovoltaics are starting to take off in Florida, but the state’s installers are already familiar with solar thermal, which has been a popular way for residents to heat their water and their pools.
Some parts of Florida also offer low-interest rate loans for renewable energy, like the City of Tallahassee, the Gainesville Regional Utility, the Clay Electric Cooperative and the Orlando Utilities Commission offer low-interest loan programs. Rates for the programs range from 0 percent to 11 percent, depending on the program.
In addition, Florida laws require investor-owned utilities to offer net metering. Under the law they must credit customers for net excess generation in a month, if, over a 12 month period, they generate more power than they they use, the utility must pay them.
|Program Type||Sales Tax Exemption|
|Technologies||Solar hot water, Solar space heat, Photovoltaic systems, Solar Pool Heating|
|Who Can Apply:||Commercial, Residential, General Public/Consumer|
|Amount||100% of sales tax; no maximum|
|Required Documentation||Application Form|
|Official Web Sites|
Purchasers of solar energy systems used in place of conventional energy systems are exempt from paying state sales and use tax. The exemption covers all components used in the system, not just solar panels. The Florida Solar Energy Center lists the components that qualify in a document found here.
Sellers of solar energy systems are required to document sales to get the exemption. A simple application form must be signed by the seller. The form is provided by the Florida Department of Revenue and can be found here.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics (solar panels), Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, CHP/Cogeneration, Anaerobic Digestion, Small Hydroelectric, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Ocean Thermal
|Who Can Apply||Commercial, industrial, residential, municipal and government customers of investor owned utilities|
For systems larger than 10 kilowatts, proof of general liability insurance. $1 million lability coverage for systems 10 kilowatts to 100 kilowatts. And $2 million lability coverage for systems 100 kilowatts to 2 megawatts.
|Official Web Sites|
Under Florida’s net-metering law owners of a broad range of renewable energy systems, including solar thermal electric, photovoltaic, wind, biomass, hydroelectric and more can net-meter their systems and get credited for generating more power than they use.
Net metering means utilities credit customers for the difference, or net, between consumption and generation. The excess power generated is fed back into the grid.
During months when a customer’s renewable energy system generates more electricity than the customer uses, the utility credits the customer for the excess energy generated at retail rates. The credits are carried forward for 12 months. If the customer doesn’t use their credits within 12 months, the utility pays the customer for the excess at what’s called the avoided cost rate, which is less than retail rates.
Systems up to 2 megawatts can qualify for net metering. The program is open to all customers of investor owned utilities. Customers of cooperatives or municipal utilities are not covered under the program.
Systems 10 kilowatts and smaller are exempt from liability insurance requirements and application fees. Systems between 10 kilowatts and 100 kilowatts must pay a $400 application fee and have $1 million in liability insurance; larger systems must pay a $1,000 application fee, carry $2 million in liability insurance, and place a $2,000 deposit.
Corporate Tax Credit
Green Building Incentive
Local Loan Program
Local Rebate Program
Sales Tax Incentive
Utility Grant Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Solar/Wind Contractor Licensing
Related Programs & Initiatives
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision-makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.