With the nickname “The Sunshine State,” you would think that Florida would be one of the best states in the country for going solar. In reality, it has been trickier to switch to solar than one would hope.
There are several reasons why it has not been easy to install solar panels in Florida in the past, but as solar continues to drop in price year by year, lawmakers and consumers alike are putting their attention on this initiative.
There is no better time to look into a solar panel system in Florida than in 2018.
New laws are being passed, more incentives and rebates are being offered and prices are steadily dropping. This post will give you all of the details you need for going solar in Florida.
Buying a Solar Panel System in Florida
Not everyone wants to purchase a solar panel system all at once in cash, but for those that do, here are the details for doing so in Florida.
No matter what state you are in, you can always take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit. Otherwise known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), this incentive allows solar customers to receive a tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of their solar panel system. A typical sized solar panel system of 5 kW would cost your about $16,250 in Florida. With the 30% tax credit, that drops all the way down to $11,375.
There are also a couple state incentives that will help you maximize your solar ROI such as Florida’s property tax exemption for residential renewable energy property and Florida’s solar and CHP sales tax exemption.
Florida's Solar Property Tax Exemption
In some states, when you install a solar panel system the value of your property assessment rises and therefore, the amount you pay in property taxes goes up as well. (The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs even allow consumers to pay solar loans back through these additional property taxes.)
In Florida however, a 100% property tax exemption is provided for residential renewable energy property as well as a 80% property tax abatement for non-residential property.
This means that when you purchase and install a solar panel system at your home, your property assessment will not change and you will not be paying any additional taxes. Overall, this leads to more savings than if that same consumer was located in a different state that included the taxes.
Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption
The second state incentive for solar consumers in Florida is an exemption from paying use and sales tax on their solar panel systems.
The state’s 6% sales tax rate would make a $16,250 solar panel system cost an additional $975, making it cost a total of $17,225. On top of this, there is no additional taxes associated with any use of the solar energy system.
As you can see, these exemptions help save hundreds and even thousands of dollars for the consumer.
Solar Loans in Florida
Until recently, it was not possible to take a loan out for a solar project in Florida. In 2018 however, it is different, and for those who do want to go down this path, it is now possible.
The benefits of taking a solar loan is that there is no down-payment, and you still can make use of the 30% federal tax credit. In addition, the loan payments are often lower than your original, non-solar electricity bill.
As long as you continue to pay off your loan over the next several years, you will still end up saving thousands of dollars in the long-run.
Solar Leasing in Florida
Solar leasing is done differently in Florida than anywhere else in the country.
The laws do not make it impossible to lease a solar panel system, but they make it more difficult by not allowing the power-purchase agreement (PPA). This agreement is used across the country to allow a utility company or solar company to own a home’s solar panel system and simply sell that home their electricity cheaper than the normal rate.
Florida doesn’t like this model, which ultimately led to local utility companies to petition for a new model to still allow them to lease these systems.
In the current model, the customers pay a monthly lease fee to be able to use the panel system and all of the electricity it produces. They also pay their monthly (significantly reduced) electric bill on top of the lease payment. The total savings amount to the electric bill savings minus the lease payment.
Solar in the Sunshine State
2018 is a great year to go solar in Florida. Whether you want to buy your system in cash, take out a loan, or lease your solar panels, there are great options for anyone. You are guaranteed to save money in the long-term by installing a solar panel system on your home, so get started today!