Florida Power & Light offering residential rebates for solar

Florida Power & Light offering residential rebates for solarFlorida Power & Light Co. (FPL), a NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NEE) subsidiary, announced on May 31 that it will start offering solar rebates to its customers who are home or business owners. The rebates will be offered for photovoltaic and solar hot-water systems.

It’s the first time the utility has offered solar rebates to residents, said spokesperson Jackie Anderson. The company is investing $15.5 million in the pilot program in 2011. The program will run annually through 2014. The $15.5 million is the maximum cap per year, she said.

Residents can qualify for an incentive of $2,000 per kilowatt for a direct-current (DC) system. The rebate for homeowners caps out at $20,000. Businesses can qualify for a maximum incentive level of $50,000 for a photovoltaic system. The rebate level for the first 10 kilowatts is the same as for residents, but it falls after that. Businesses with multiple locations can qualify for up to $150,000 in rebates.

Customers with photovoltaic systems will be net-metered, according to Anderson. Under the company’s net-metering policy, customers with systems up to 10 kilowatts in size are credited at the retail rate for power produced by their system and fed back into the grid. Any net-excess generation over a year period will be paid to the customer in January at FPL’s “as available rate,” which is lower than the retail rate.

In addition, the power company is offering rebates for solar water heaters. Homeowners can get a $1,000 rebate on a solar hot-water heater. Businesses can qualify for up to $50,000 per site, up to $150,000 in total. The business rebate is based on the size of the system and is equal $30 per 1,000 British thermal unit (BTU) hours per day produced by the installed system.

FPL estimates photovoltaic rebates will be available for about 400 residential customers and 80 business customers, the company said. It estimates 4,500 residents and 50 businesses will take advantage of the solar hot water system rebates.

“The application window opens on June 21,” Anderson said. FPL expects that the funds will be depleted quickly. “I think we’ll open the window for next year in October. It will renew every year. If customers don’t qualify this year, as long as they don’t start installing the systems this year, they can qualify for next year.”

The program was approved by Florida’s Public Service Commission. And it’s still too early to tell whether or not FPL will renew the program when it’s completed in 2014.

Image courtesy of NREL.