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Congratulations! You've found the ultimate guide to going solar in Florida

2019 Policy Grade


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Your 2019 guide to getting solar panels for your home in Florida

This page is a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on your Florida home. Since there's a lot to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

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** What's new for 2019 **

Florida isn't as great a state for solar as its "Sunshine State" nickname suggests it should be. Lawmakers in Tallahassee have had a really tough time coming up with common-sense solar laws to help homeowners in the state go solar, potentially because of low electricity prices from utility companies that still rely on coal, and, oh yeah... millions of utility company dollars spent lobbying the legislature to prevent good laws from getting passed.

Still, as home solar has gotten cheaper, it's become increasingly viable for Florida homeowners to install panels and see immediate savings. Solar installations carry 25-year warranties, which means your roof will be making electricity and saving you money until your kids have kids of their own.

Finally, a recent ruling by the state's Public Utilities commission has opened up solar leasing in the state, which makes solar afordable and an economically smart decision for more and more homeowners.

If you're ready to take the plunge and see how solar can save you thousands in electricity costs over the next couple decades, connect with our partner installers in your area today!

The Solar Strategy section is focused on the 3 ways of paying for solar in Florida, so you can decide which is best for you. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we provide detailed analysis of how each works.

The Solar, Step by Step section is a guide to everything that happens from before you get solar quotes to the time when the panels are on your roof and you're getting ready to claim that sweet solar tax credit.

The Policy Information section contains all our latest research on the rules set by lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission, which determine how easy it is to go solar in Florida. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to interconnection, and have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions for going solar in Florida.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Your Solar Strategy in Florida

Figuring out the best way to go solar in Florida can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

How should you pay for solar?

Use our decision tool to find out!

How to pay for solar panels in Florida

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan. Since Florida doesn't allow homeowners to get solar through a third-party agreement like a lease or Power Purchase Agreement, we included two different sizes of solar loans—one for people with a lot of equity, and one for people with just a little.

As you can see, the purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but it also requires a big up-front investment. If you can get a solar loan or take a home equity line of credit (HELOC), though, your payments over 15 years will be only a little more than your savings, and you'll still come out thousands ahead in the end.

Read on to find out more about each option.

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Option 1: Paying cash for solar

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the "biggest" financial returns. The reason we put "biggest" in quotes here is because it's technically true—with lower equipment costs and a tax credit, solar costs less than ever before, and a solar installation in Florida pays itself off in 13 years. But if you're interested in solar as an investment, taking a loan to pay for the system is a better option.

With a loan, you can make monthly payments instead of putting $16,250 down on a solar system, which means you save money on electricity as you pay down the cost of your panels. If you have equity in your home or can get a large loan with an interest rate of 5% or less, a loan is the option to go with. It's like being able to start a business that is sure to succeed, just by having a roof. Read about loans below.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $16,250, but a Federal tax break and energy savings will erase a bunch of that after just 1 year. Over 25 years, your system will have produced nearly $15,000 in income, after your system cost is paid back. The reason this works is that solar offsets your electricity costs—enough to save you $729 in year 1—and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a Florida solar purchase with a 5-kW rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 5kW solar system should start at about $16,250. Don’t worry – even without state incentives, you can still knock a big chunk off the price right off the bat.
  • Since the Feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, no state incentives means a bigger federal solar tax credit. Subtract $4,875 (30% of the costs) for a new price of $11,375.
  • After the tax credit, subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be about $729. That brings your cost after the first year to $10,646. That's 35% off the starting cost, in just one year!
  • By the time your system pays itself back in year 13, you’ll be seeing over $1,000 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • When all is said and done, our 25-year estimate shows a total net profit of $14,444.
  • And don't forget... your home's value just increased by more than $19,000, too (your expected annual electricity savings over 20 years)!
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil-fuels. In fact, the energy you’re not using has the carbon equivalent of planting 110 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Florida. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 2: Using a loan to pay for solar

This is without a doubt the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment. That’s because it relies on using someone else’s money for the purchase price, which is paid back over time. The cost is similar to a new car loan, but because solar makes you money, it's a tremendous investment. One way to finance solar like this is a Home-Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), but solar loans at great rates are being offered by installers around the country. The chart above is our estimate for the average homeowner, so get a custom quote for a $0-down solar loan to get an accurate picture of how much solar can save you.

The reason a solar loan works so well is that you don’t have to put any money down, but you still get all of the incentives that go along with buying solar. You'll get the 30% federal tax credit and the energy bill savings will start right away. The bad news is your loan payments will be higher than those energy bill savings, so you'll end up spending about $59/month for solar in the first year. That difference will come down each year as electricity prices rise, but your system will keep on producing about the same amount of electricity.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a Florida solar purchase with a solar loan or HELOC:

  • Installing a typical 5-kW solar system should start at about $16,250. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $729, but your loan payments will total $1,442, for a difference of $713, or about $59 per month.
  • That's not so bad when you consider your tax savings for the year will be $4,875! You'll come out more than $4,150 ahead in year 1, which should help ease the burden of loan payments for a few years, at least.
  • When your loan’s paid off in year 15, you’ll start see over $1,100 per year in savings until the end of your system’s life.
  • For our 25-year estimate, you'll end up with $9,059 in profits.
  • And the future is going to look a little brighter, since your system will mean green for the environment. It'll be like planting 110 trees every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Florida. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 3: Leasing the system and getting whatever electricity it produces

Florida Solar Lease Savings, approx $5,500 over 20 years

Due to some quirks in the way the state's utility rules are written, Florida does third-party-owned solar a little differently than anywhere else. The first thing to know, if that technically, third-party ownership (TPO) is banned here, at least as it regards the traditional method of TPO solar: the power-purchase agreement (PPA).

Under a PPA, the solar company installs panels on your roof and sells you the electricity produced by those panels. You save money because the solar electricity is sold to you at a price that's lower than the retail price of electricity. A PPA comes with a guarantee that the panels will produce a certain amount of electricity over a the life of the PPA contract, usually 20 years.

Florida says that the PPA model causes the solar company to act like a utility company, and (put as succinctly as possible, though it's more complicated than this) unless a "utility company" can provide electric service to all the customers in a given area, it isn't allowed to operate under current Florida law.

But nothing in Florida law specifically prohibits third-party ownership of a solar system for use by a homeowner—just the whole, production guarantee and per-kWh pricing of the PPA model—so Florida solar installers recently petitioned the Florida Public Services Commission, and won the right to offer solar leases

Who are Florida solar leases for?

The ideal customer for a solar lease is someone without a ton of disposable income, or any income at all. If you buy your own solar panels, you get to take 30% of the cost of that installation of your taxes the next year, but that's no good for folks who have no income to tax in the first place, like retirees.

Under a lease, the solar installer will own the panels, and they'll be able to claim the 30% tax credit for themselves, passing on some of the savings to you in the form of lower monthly lease payments. A Florida solar lease should save you money by replacing much of your electricity bill with a fixed monthly lease payment from the start. No upfront investment required!

Just be sure to know how leases work, and do the math to make sure you'll be saving from day 1.

How do Florida Solar Leases work?

Solar leases differ from PPAs in a couple of important ways: instead of paying for the electricity produced by panels, the lessee pays a monthly lease payment for the privilege of having the panels on their roof, and gets whatever energy those panels make. Also, there is no production guarantee, so the customer won't have recourse if the panels aren't making as much electricity as the solar company estimates.

The good news is solar panels are very reliable, and the individual components will still come with warranties to ensure the system can be repaired if something happens to prevent the panels from working.

The final difference is that the lease payment is the same every month, whereas the energy savings will change based on the season. In the summer when the skies are clearer and the sun is at a relatively higher angle, the solar panels produce more energy, but in the winter, the panels will produce less electricity, perhaps not even offsetting the cost of the lease payment.

The savings calculation for a lease is electric bill savings from solar, minus cost of the lease payments. On top of that, you have to worry about panel degradation, which means the same panels will produce slightly less every year as they are exposed to the elements. The amount of degradation will be around 0.5% per year, which is tiny, but adds up to about a 15% reduction in performance over a 20-year lease.

In light of these considerations, you have to look at an annual average savings per year for 20 years, and subtract the lease payments from that amount.

Here's our estimate of the savings with a Florida solar lease over time

  • The payments on a typical 5-kW solar lease should cost about $50 per month, or $600 per year.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $762, meaning your net 1st-year savings are $162.
  • That lease payment will increase by 2% per year, but the cost of electricity from the utility company will probably exceed that, escalating at an estimated 3.5% per year.
  • Overall, the lease will save you about $5,500 over the 20-year term.
  • Your system will remove as much carbon from the air as planting 110 trees per year, which is a pretty great thing, we'd say.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in Florida. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar lease, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

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Is solar right for your Florida home?

A beautiful home with solar panels

If you answer “yes” to each of the following questions, you’re probably a good candidate for solar.

  • Do you own your home?
  • Does your roof get direct sun for most of the day?
  • Does your electricity bill bother you (specifically how much you have to pay)?

The ideal home for solar has a south- or west-facing roof that gets little to no shade throughout the day. The roof can be covered with anything from asphalt shingles to clay or slate tiles, but the easiest roofs to work with are asphalt and standing-seam metal roofs.

Even if your home does not completely meet these conditions, you may still see huge savings from going solar. Your installer will take everything into account when providing you with a savings estimate.

We get more in-depth with roof shape, covering, and orientation in two useful articles:

The step-by-step process for going solar in Florida

The most important thing to know about the entire process of going solar is that your solar installer is good at this stuff.

They'll make sure all the T's are crossed and the I's are dotted during the whole process:

Step 1: Getting and Comparing Quotes

There are now many slick solar estimate tools online. Some have you draw lines on your roof from satellite imagery to place your panels and explain your savings. Others pit solar companies against each other in an automated battle for your dollars. Others still track the sun over the course of the year to show you your electric production with the panels you just struggled to draw on your roof.

In our view, they're all a waste of time. If you're serious about installing panels, the best way to get an accurate view of your costs and savings is to get actual quotes instead of messing around with these online tools.

After all, you're not a solar PV designer, it's better to let an expert who knows what they're doing use their own fancy tools for you (believe us—they have fancy tools).

Also, nothing beats a human connection from a trusted source. We've been forging relationships with strong partners and installers since 2007. They know what they're doing, and they're good people.

When you complete our form, we'll connect you with them. You’ll quickly get an accurate reflection of how much electricity your roof can make, how much your system will cost, and how long it will take before you see a profit. In Florida, with a solar loan or lease, you'll be in the green immediately.

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What you should look for in a solar installer

Solar customers with a contractor looking at contract

If you seek solar quotes directly from providers without our help, be sure to judge them by the following criteria. All partners in our network are:

  • Trained and Skilled - The standard for solar installers is certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP for short). That means they’ve undergone training and passed tests that ensure they know what they’re doing.
  • Experienced - How many solar systems has the company installed? A minimum of 10 is a good number to shoot for, unless you know they company well. Of course, choosing Tesla or Sunrun means you’re with a company that has installed thousands of systems, but their process can seem less personal, and their prices are often higher than smaller companies.
  • Well-regarded - Look at reviews of solar providers on Yelp and Google and other review sites. Or simply ask the salesperson to speak with one of the company’s former clients. Solar owners generally love talking about their systems, and you can benefit from their experience.
  • Licensed, bonded, and insured - Make sure the installation crew includes a licensed electrician, because if not, that can be a surprise charge to get the system hooked up.And of course, the company you’re going with has to be bonded and insured in case they do any damage to your home.

The solar quote process

Your first contact with one of our solar providers will be over the phone. They’ll take a look at a satellite photo of your roof and verify some simple details about you and your home. Many will be able to provide you a complete estimate without coming to your house. If you prefer, you can review your estimate in person.

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Information included in solar quotes

A sample solar quote

Your quote will include information about how many panels will be used, how much electricity they can produce, your expected savings over time, and more.

  • System size - System size isn't just about the square footage the panels will occupy on your roof. In the solar industry, size refers to the number of watts your system can produce in full sun. The average solar panel puts out 250 watts at a time, so your installer would call a system of 20 panels a "5-kW system."
  • Energy production - Your solar panels' energy production is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), just like your electricity usage is measured by your utility company. The quote will include an estimate of the average kWh your system will produce per year, and might even show you how the seasons affect expected production by month.
  • Cost and incentives - Solar system prices are quoted as "total cost" and "dollars per watt." For example, a 5-kW system that costs $15,500 has a $3.10 cost per watt. These are the first figures to compare what you’re being offered. The installer should also show you the available incentives that being the net cost of the installation down. Everyone is eligible for the federal solar tax credit of 30% of the system's cost, but there may be local incentives available, as well.

    Note: if you're considering a lease, you won't be eligible for incentives, and the cost section might include your expected costs per kWh, but only as a guess. Solar leases in Florida cannot by law come with a guaranteed rate of energy production.

  • Equipment - Not all solar panels are created equal, but nearly all the panels used by reputable installers should be able to reliably make electricity for the next 25 years. The options are numerous, and your installer should be able to provide you quotes for a few different kinds. For example, if having panels made in the USA is important to you, your installer should be able to offer you a quote for a system using panels from the USA and panels made elsewhere.
  • Warranties - A solar system has multiple warranties that cover the panels, the inverter, and the installer’s work on your roof. What can change between quotes is the length of the warranties and what they cover. Read our full post on solar warranties and what they cover.

Deciding which solar quote is the best

Now for the easy part: choosing which solar company has the best offer. If one installer offers a lower cost per watt using great equipment, they might be the best choice. Just keep in mind that important considerations other than price set solar companies apart.

Larger installers are all about full service and efficiency, making the process of going solar fast and streamlined. They all offer in-house financing options and multiple ways to pay, and they might also throw in bonuses like free monitoring equipment and long-term warranties.

Smaller installers don’t have the overhead of national solar companies, so they can compete more on price. You might even develop a meaningful relationship with a member of your community who has been doing this for a while, and if something goes wrong with your system, it might feel better to pick up the phone to call them rather than an 800 number tied to a high-volume call center. Just keep an eye on their financing offerings. Third-party lenders for solar financing sometimes include finance charges or higher interest that can mean you save less in the long run.

For more of our guidance on choosing an installer, check out these useful articles:

Step 2: Financing your system

Pile of cash

If you plan to pay up front, this step is easy. Just get your checkbook out and make it happen, high-roller! But if you’re interested in a solar loan or lease, it’s time to explore options.

Many installers will offer you financing at this point. Compare their offer to the other options you have. If they offer third-party financing, it might be time to explore a HELOC with your bank before you sign their financing arrangement.

We discussed the options in the section on loans above, but here’s a quick refresher:

  • Home Equity - Probably the best way to pay for solar, because you control it, the rates are lower, and you can repay it in a more flexible way.
  • Solar loans - Most installers will offer some kind of The big guys like Sunrun, Vivint and Tesla/Solarcity have their own loans they can offer you, but most mid-sized installers work with a 3rd-party solar loan provider like Mosaic. These loans are usually structured with the solar tax credit as a balloon payment after 1 year, and the balance of the system cost as a long-term loan at 5%-7% interest.
  • PACE loans - Property-Assessed Clean Energy financing is good for people who don’t have amazing credit or tons of equity, but who plan to live in their home for years to come and don’t mind slightly higher interest rates. The loan is repaid through your property tax bill, the interest is often tax-deductible, and repayment can be spread across as many as 25 years.
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Don't forget about leases

If you don’t mind giving up a little control and letting your solar company own the panels, choose a lease instead. These are only available through an installer, since they’ll be the ones who own the system.

Again, a lease is best if you don’t have enough income to take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit, but it can work for anybody. It’s generally simpler than owning your own system. You just sign on the dotted line and start making lease payments for the system, which should generate enough electricity to save you money on your electric bills.

Step 3: Signing a contract, and what happens after

hands signing a contract

So, you’ve settled on a solar installer, and lined up the funding to pay for your shiny new panels! After you sign on the dotted line, it’s time for the pros to begin their work!

Site Inspections

First up, you’ll be seeing a few folks out for site inspections. There will be a master electrician out to look at your main circuit panel and wiring, a solar contractor to do a detailed analysis of your roof and determine the best placement for the panels, and a roofing contractor to examine the structural integrity of your roof.

Design and permitting

Following the inspections, the system designer will get to work on a digital design for your system. Your solar company will finalize the design and components, and give you a final price for approval. Once you’ve authorized the final design, your solar installer will finalize the documents and submit them to your locality for permitting.

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Step 4: Installation, Inspection & Interconnection

Two workers install solar panels on a roof

Florida is a mature solar market and most installers have their procedures down pat. Installation, which used to take several days, now usually takes between 4 and 8 hours. Unless your roof is complicated or your electrical systems need updating, your crew should arrive, perform their duties, and be done within one day.

Installation day

Your installer will have already completed their site surveys and the workers on the truck will know exactly what they're installing and where. The crew will arrive at your home, set up their gear and get to work on your roof.

The first thing they'll do is mark off all the places the solar panel mounts will be placed, then attach those mounts to your roof. If you'd like to know more about the big metal bolts that will be screwed into your rafters, check out an article on how solar panels are attached to your roof.

The crew will then install the racks and panels, making connections that either wire the panels together in strings, or bring the wires from the micro-inverters together. If the crew includes a master electrician, that person will make the final connections between the panel, inverter, and your main AC panel (you may have to wait a day or two for the master electrician to finish the wiring).

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What the heck are micro-inverters?

Traditionally, solar panels are wired in a series and connected to a single inverter box, which converts the electricity from DC to AC so it can be used in your home. Those large inverters work great for most people, but tend to make the system overall a tiny bit less efficient. Also, if a shadow or cloud passes over and blocks sunlight to some of your panels, the whole system suffers.

Micro-inverters, on the other hand, are attached to the back of every panel, which ensures that the maximum energy output of each panel reaches your home wiring. They cost a little more, but for a house with a partially-shaded roof, they can pay for themselves quickly.

Here's an infographic showing how the two types of inverters differ:

A string of solar panels with one shaded produces only half its rated power With micro-inverters, one shaded panel doesn't affect the whole bunch, allowing more electricity to get to the meter

Inspection and Interconnection

After your system is installed, it needs to be connected to the grid, and for that, you’ll need to have it inspected. Your installer will line all this up for you, too, and it may take between a couple days and a couple weeks to get the final inspections scheduled and completed.

An inspector examines and electrical box

Your city may require an inspection from the fire department, but the most important inspection will come from the utility company, who will send out someone to examine your system’s components and wiring and install the new electric meter that will record your solar kWhs.

At this point, you might even get a chance to turn the system on yourself!

Step 5: Operation, Maintenance, and claiming your tax credit

A squeegee cleaning solar panels

So you’ve got a shiny new solar system installed and it’s working. Now what? To be honest, not much. Solar panels are the platonic ideal of a Ron Popeil creation: set it and forget it. Still, you might find yourself compulsively checking your monitoring software to ensure those panels are working as promised.

After the deep breath of fresh air that comes with seeing your new electric bills, you'll relax into a state of solar bliss. During other moments, you'll smile as you think of all the acreage of forest you basically just planted using only the few hundred square feet of your roof.

There are a few important things to know after your panels are installed:

How to maintain your solar panels

Maintaining solar panels is a breeze. Solar panels are designed to handle rain, wind, snow, hail, and whatever nature throws at them for 25 years or more. All the maintenance a solar panel system needs is a yearly rinse and squeegee to take off extra dust and grime; maybe 2 or three times yearly if you live in a very dusty place. You can get by with a hose, if you need to.

If you own the system, either with a loan or having paid cash, you can expect to do (or contract out) the work yourself. If you have a solar lease contract, this annual or semi-annual cleaning may be included as part of your agreement, or you may have the responsibility to do any cleaning yourself. Be sure to look for this information as part of a lease offer.

How to tell if your solar components are working

Other than cleaning, you may someday experience the failure of one or more components. Right off the bat, you should be able to see whether your panels are delivering energy on the panel of your inverter or net meter.

Read the user manual of your inverter to find out how to access the proper information, but most inverters will have a real-time production number on an LCD readout right on the front.

If you have a system with a central inverter, you will likely need to replace it after 10-15 years. If, instead, you have micro-inverters attached to each panel, they should last for the life of your system, and if not, they’re usually covered by 25-year warranties.

A micro-inverter attached to the underside of a solar module

Micro-inverters, like the one shown above, coupled with monitoring software can make it easier to tell when a panel isn't producing enough energy

Your installer may also have included monitoring software as part of your installation, either on a screen attached to your system or on the web. The monitoring software will tell you if the system is functioning properly, and, if you have micro-inverters on each of your panels, can even tell you if any panels are not working as they should.

If you discover that one or more of your panels isn’t working, it’ll be time to file a warranty claim.

What to do if your panels stop working

If you’ve done a good job by choosing one of our installer partners, you’ve got warranties that cover the installation (e.g., watertightness of roof penetrations and structural integrity of your roof), the panels (manufacturing defects) and the energy (production guarantee).

Your first step is to figure out who to contact. If you have a lease contract, that step is simple: call your installer or contact them via their customer portal. That might also be the case if you sign up for a solar loan from a big installer. Oftentimes, the loan comes with a similar kind of protection.

a cracked solar panel

This isn't supposed to happen, so if it does, know who to call.

If, however, you went with a different installer, perhaps sourced through a different website, you’re probably stuck looking through the paperwork you got with the system to find the manufacturers of your panels, inverter, or other components.

How to claim the federal tax credit for solar

Claiming the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC, for short) is easy, just have your personal assistant fax all the necessary paperwork to your accountant in the Caymans, and wait for your huge refund.

A fanned-out stack of a few 1040 tax forms

Oh wait, you don't have millions in an offshore account? Then we've got the necessary info for you. The ITC is claimed by filling out a special schedule, Form 5695, and entering the credit amount from that into your 1040 form.

For your edification and convenience, we've prepared a step-by-step guide to claiming the solar tax credit.

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Florida Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in Florida:



Grade: F

Florida's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

A Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) requires utilities in the state to eventually source at least a certain percentage of their electricity from clean, renewable sources like solar panels.

An RPS would be critical to strong renewable energy policy in Florida. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also don’t naturally want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities would aid your transition to lower electric bills and offer you incentives to put solar on your roof would be if the state forces them to. Without an RPS, utilities have little incentive to help homeowners go solar.

So what’s going on in Florida? All those people, all that money, and no statewide RPS? We’re not just disappointed; frankly, we’re shocked. Props to JEA (formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority) for voluntarily opting into an agreement with some environmental organizations to produce 7.5% of its power from clean, renewable sources by 2015. Really, we meant that – but 7.5% in one of the state’s smaller cities is just a drop in the bucket.

What's an RPS? Your state legislature paves the way for strong solar energy incentives to flourish by setting standards for renewable energy generation within their territories. Those standards are called the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). If utility companies do not meet these standards, they must pay alternative compliance fees directly to the state. Many utilities then determine the best ways to source their energy from renewable sources that are less expensive than this fee.

An RPS is a mandate that says "Hey utilities! Y'all now have to make a certain percentage of your electricity from renewable sources. If not, you'll have to pay us huge fines." The consequences are good, because utilities usually try to meet these RPS standards by creating solar power incentives for you, the homeowner. Read more about Renewable Portfolio Standards.

RPS solar carve out


Grade: F

Florida's Solar Carve-out grade

Along with a strong RPS, some of the best solar states also require a specific percentage of the electricity generated in the state to come from solar panels specifically. It’s been shown to spur immediate and widespread adoption of solar energy, but not here in Florida.

What's a solar set aside? A solar set aside guarantees a specific portion of the overall renewable energy mix generated comes from the sun. For those states with progressive standards, high alternative compliance payments, and clear solar carve outs, the faster those areas become ripe for solar.

Some states have higher alternative compliance fees than others, and some states have more progressive alternative energy standards and deadlines than others do.

For instance, New Jersey has an overall RPS of 22.5% by the year 2021. That requires local utilities to source 22.5% of their energy mix from renewable sources by the year 2021. Pretty good. However, New Jersey also has a specific solar set aside of 4.1% by 2028. That’s the type of firm commitment which really gets the industry rolling forward. No wonder why New Jersey is one of the hottest solar markets right now!

Florida Electricity Prices


Grade: D

Florida's Electricity cost grade

Florida pays an average of about 12 cents for a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. That’s a little more than a penny cheaper than the national average. Cheap electricity rates mean you’re probably not feeling too much of a strain in your pocketbook... yet. Just don’t forget why electricity is so cheap.

That’s right, fossil fuels. Lots and lots of non-renewable, greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels. When all those fossil fuels really start to bite us in the butt, or start to run low… or both… electricity rates are going to rise, and fast. When that happens you’re going to be really, really happy you switched early to all that efficient, clean solar power that will be in high demand.

In the meantime, solar power will still save you a chunk of change in Florida. We’ll go over just how much in a minute.

Why are electricity prices so important? Because that is what solar power is directly competing against. The cost to produce power with solar is relatively constant (of course how much sun hits your area has an effect), so if you are paying $0.40 per watt for power, then you make FOUR TIMES AS MUCH as the guy or girl paying $0.10 per watt electricity.

The caveat here is that if the $0.10 per watt person has a HUGE rebate, they may be better off than the $0.40 per watt person. Because of that, states without any renewable standards tend to be heavily reliant on cheap coal for electricity, and also have very low electricity prices. When electricity prices are artificially low, that hinders the ability of solar energy to achieve meaningful payback in the state.

Florida Net Metering

Statewide with caveats

Grade: B

Florida's Net Metering grade

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus. Florida’s Public Service Commission “PSC” set specific standards for net metering back in 2008. The PSC rules apply only to the state’s investor-owned utilities; the rules do not apply to electric cooperatives or municipal utilities. Municipal utilities and electric cooperatives are required to offer net metering, but specific standards are not set by law.

Assuming you’re a customer of an investor-owned utility (most of us), any net excess generation (NEG), i.e. any surplus energy, is carried forward as a credit at the full retail rate to your next bill for up to 12 months. At the end of a 12-month billing period, the utility pays you for any remaining NEG at an avoided-cost rate.

Florida’s really making a late comeback here, because not only is that just about the perfect net metering law, it looks like you won’t have any problems getting on the grid. Unlike most states, Florida has no set capacity limit, i.e., you won’t get blocked from hooking up to the grid for net metering just because some of your neighbors have already done so. Your small residential system also lacks any of the possible hurdles and red tape that we’ve seen in other states. Now that’s more like it, Florida!

What is net metering? Net metering is the billing arrangement where you can sell excess electricity back to your utility for equal the amount you are charged to consume it. The more customer friendly net metering policies, the higher the grade.

The grade here specifically reflects individual solar system capacity, caps on program capacity limits, restrictions on “rollover” of kWh from one month to the next (yep just like cell phone minutes), metering issues (like charges for new meters), Renewable Energy Credit (REC) ownership, eligible customers and technology (the more renewables the better), being able to aggregate meters across the property for net metering, and safe harbor provisions to protect customers from solar tariff changes.

Florida Interconnection Rules

It's complicated

Grade: D

Florida's Interconnection Standards grade

Overall we gave Florida a mediocre grade on interconnection standards because of the requirements for a redundant external disconnect switch and the mandatory insurance requirements for larger solar systems. Don’t worry though! These problems shouldn’t apply to you and your single-home system. For all systems under 10kw, it should be smooth sailing to get connected to the grid and start raking in those net metering savings.

Interconnection rules are a little technical, but they basically allow you to “plug in” to the electric grid with solar panels on your roof. The more complex, out of date, or nonsensical the state rules are for plugging into the grid, the lower the grade.

Specifically, the grade reflects what technologies are eligible, individual system capacity, removing interconnection process complexity for smaller systems, interconnection timelines and charges, engineering charges, prohibiting the requirement of unnecessary external disconnects, certification, spot interconnection vs. wide area interconnection, technical screens, friendliness of legalese, insurance requirements, dispute resolution, and rule coverage.

Solar Incentives in Florida

Next to high electricity prices and net metering, solar incentives have traditionally been the most important factor for whether home solar power makes financial sense in a state. In the past, some states with otherwise lousy policy had tremendous incentives that drove down the up-front cost of going solar so much that homeowners could save oodles of money even without net metering or a good RPS.

These days, the big incentive most people can get is the Federal Solar Tax Credit that earns you 30% of your costs back after just 1 year. State incentives play less of a role than in the past, but some really good ones are still out there, ready to help homeowners go solar and save money before you know it.

Let's see how Florida measures up:

Florida Solar Power Rebates

City of Longwood: 10% of costs up to $500

Grade: D

Florida's Solar Rebates grade

OK. It’s official. This is a trend. Florida has no statewide solar rebate program, and the few patchwork fill-ins from individual utility companies have closed. The statewide rebate program you may have heard of, Florida’s Solar Energy Systems Incentive Program, is sadly no longer taking new applicants.

There is one place that still offers solar rebates in Florida. The city of Longwood. There, you can get up to 10% of the costs of installation back as a rebate from the city. Sounds good, right? Not so fast... the rebate has a maximum of $500, so it's not nothing, but... well... the good news is you can take the $500 each year they offer it, but only if you keep making energy efficiency improvements that meet the city's criteria. Go to the city's site to read more.

How do solar rebates work? Similar to getting a rebate card from your local big box store for a dishwasher purchase, state legislatures also provide rebates for solar panel purchases to spur on investment and create new jobs. If you purchase the solar panel system yourself, you qualify for this free cash, which many times is a lump payment back to you. Some solar installers like to take this amount directly off the total installed price, and they'll handle the paperwork for you to make things a lot less complex.

The availability of state and utility rebates were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The better the rebates, the higher the grade.

Florida Solar Power Tax Credits

No State Income Tax

Grade: None

Florida's Solar Tax Credits grade

Since Florida doesn’t have any income tax, there aren’t any solar tax credits to redeem! Fortunately, local organizations like this are forming to help people like you. This group combines the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association, the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy, and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy; their goal is to highlight the benefits of solar and provide insight as to what can be changed to help this energy type thrive in the state of Florida. And hey, you still get the Federal government’s sweet 30% tax credit.

About state solar tax credits: State tax credits are not technically free money. However, they are 'credits' and not 'deductions' which means that if you have the tax appetite to take advantage of them, then they can be a 1-to-1 dollar amount off your taxes instead of a fraction of the cost of the system. So that means they can be an important factor to consider. In certain circumstances, state tax credits can provide a very powerful incentive for people to go solar.

(Keep in mind, we are not tax professionals and give no tax advice so please consult a professional before acting on anything we say related to taxes)

The availability of personal tax credits for solar energy were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the tax credit amount, the higher the grade.

Solar Power Performance Payments

Orlando Utilities Commission: $0.05/kWh

Grade: D

Florida's Solar Performance Payments grade

Performance Payments are small payments for each kWh a solar system produces. In Florida, there is only one utility company that offers performance payments, but the payment they offer is pretty nice.

The Orlando Utilities Commission will pay customers to produce solar power at the rate of $0.05/kWh. That’s on top of crediting you the retail rate for electricity your system generates—they'll pay you for every kWh, whether you use it to power your home or not. The program runs for 5 years, with automatic renewal for another 5 year term at whatever rate is available.

It won't mean a ton of money each year, but it adds up over time. In our example, your performance payments will mean more $332 in your pocket for at least 5 years, and it actually reduces your system's payback time by a year.

Remember: under this program, the electricity output of your solar power system is used to power your home and you still get paid based on total output, so that couple hundred bucks really is free money – you don’t have to sacrifice any other benefits of your solar power system to collect it.

Sadly that’s the end of the available performance incentives for solar panels in Florida. Again, just a drop in the bucket. Some local utilities offer net metering for a flat price, which could mean a bit of a bonus for you. The best way to figure out whether your utility offers favorable rates is to connect with one of our Florida-based installers on the ground, who know the lay of the land when it comes to solar policy in your area.

Explanation of performance payments: Performance payments represent a big chunk of the financial rationale for going solar, and in many instances they make your decision a wise one. For certain states, if you’ve got solar panels on your roof, not only will you be cutting your electric bill down to size, but you'll be getting paid additional cash from your utility company. Pretty awesome, huh? Not only are you generating electricity for yourself, freezing your own popsicles with sun, and feeling like you’re doing something smart for your children or any of the other 4 reasons people go solar, but you are getting PAID!

Utility companies are paying people with solar panels on their roofs because their states say they have to, otherwise they will pay a fee. Therefore, the payment amount to homeowners is typically a little bit less than the amount they would be billed for by the state. For states with these alternative compliance fees, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) exchanges have popped up. In the above chart, we outlined an estimate of yearly payments a homeowner might expect from the utility company for the SREC credits from their solar energy system.

Expected SREC payments were calculated by using the latest trade values in the SRECtrade database. The availability of feed-in tariffs were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. The higher the expected monthly payments, the higher the grade.

We've got a great article if you like to read more about what SRECs are and how to earn them.

Property Tax Exemption


Grade: A

Florida's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

Thank goodness Florida at least realizes that homes with solar are worth more than homes without, and the state has been willing to exempt that value from additional property taxes. Your home’s value increases as much as $20 for every 1 dollar of electricity you save in a year. Not paying taxes on that value is a sweet deal.

About solar property tax exemptions: Property tax exemption status is a pretty big factor when putting together your investment considerations. Some argue that solar power adds approximately 20 times your annual electricity bill savings (if you are owning the system and not leasing). Other studies seem to indicate a home price premium about equal to the cost of installing the system, minus any incentives like the federal solar tax credit.

For many average-sized solar power systems on a house, that can mean adding $20,000 to your home value. And if you don't believe us, believe the bean counters: Many banks and solar financing companies now offer traditional style equity-based home loans for installing solar. An additional $20,000 in property tax basis in many states amounts to a big chunk of change owed back to the state. However, many states have complete exemptions from added taxes when you install solar on your home!

The availability of a property tax exemption for solar energy was sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Grades in this category are basically all-or-nothing. Either you got it or you don't. Thankfully, many states have "got it.".

Sales Tax Exemption


Grade: A

Florida's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Florida gets another rare “A” here. Home solar panel systems are free from state sales tax, saving you 6% or more, right off the bat. Baby steps, Florida. Baby steps.

What's the deal with solar power sales tax exemptions? When states give you a sales tax break on solar, we notice. You should too. State sales tax exemption status for the purchase of solar energy systems were sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency. Sales tax exemptions, if present, were all 100%. A handful of states are completely exempt from sales tax regardless, and therefore received ‘A’ grades by default (OR, DE, MT, AK, and NH).

The consensus on Florida solar power rebates and incentives

Without a strong RPS or a statewide solar rebate program, Florida’s utilities have little incentive to help you get into solar. Despite the state’s abundance of sun, Florida’s government hasn’t yet seen the benefit of pushing for clean, renewable energy that will produce for years to come. But with a decent overall payback time of 10 years, there is still good reason for Floridians to get into solar. We give the state a C just for solar still being a good investment, even without the policy to help make it an amazing investment.

Again, if you are confused about how these numbers work and would like some personalized assistance or a quote of your own, simply connect with our network of solar experts. They’ll help sort out all the pricing, get you access to special deals, and they’re super friendly to boot!

185 thoughts on “2019 Guide to Florida Home Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

  1. Pat says:

    I had an hbac system installed and fpl offered rebates . A friend who installs theses systems told me hbac companies just jack up the price because I’m getting the rebate. I’m bettin this is the case here too.

  2. Pat says:

    I have a home in Kissimmee and would like to install solar. I can put the panels in myself but need a structural engineer and a electrical contractor. That is what the state told me. Where can I get them. I have checked around and only found contractors who want to do the whole job.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I like solar and took out a 25 year loan to add 39 solar panels, solar water heater, solar attic fan and pool heater. I’m finding it difficult to sell and transfer the loan. Is anyone interested in the system or the house:

  4. Richard says:

    Wow, I got a new solar system 17 panels and a inverter on my roof a 5kw system. We spent over twenty-one thousand dollars for it. We were told our electric bill would almost be nothing since the system would produce electric and we could even sell the excess back to electric co. Well this had this system since june. Guess how much money we saved for the month of Nov 2017 at $10.20 our bill was $181.56 We were LIED to. WE would like to tell every body in FLORIDA, DO NOT BUY A SOLAR SYSTEM to save money on your electric bill, because you will NOT.. What recourse do we have ?? NONE : this is a rip off and your should be come aware this new problem for us electric consumers. WE also had to install a production meter to see how much electric we were producing so they could up our electric bill !!! I thought we were supposed to help and go green. Could you help get to the bottom of this SOLAR SCAM !

  5. Anonymous says:

    Regarding Rob Devoro’s comments on Peace River’s extreme anti-solar fee structure: is anyone aware of any legal action being taken against Peace River over this ridiculous and blatant attempt to discourage renewable power generation? Without the ability to reverse this policy, the only option I see is to up the ante and move to power storage (a la PowerWall) and eliminate all power consumption from Peace River…

  6. Rob Devoro says:

    In Central Florida——–> Starting November 1st, 2016: Any customer of Peace River Electric Coop who puts up solar panels has to sign a Solar Interconnection Agreement which now includes a penalty of $5.00 per kilowatt — (usually 11 or 14 cents per kW) — for every kilowatt of power that is used during and after 15 minutes of higher than usual power usage. This can easily turn into an additional $100-$150 dollars extra added to your bill per month, just because you put up solar panels or generated your own electricity using a renewable energy source. We are a captive customer base and we are being raked over the coals (literally, as much of the power comes from coal-fired power plants) paying 11 and 14 cents a kW; while FPL customers pay 6 cents a kW. Peace River Electric Coop not only refuses to provide an incentive for going solar…but is actively penalizing it’s customers who do.

  7. Ian says:

    Walter. You still looking for that answer? If you’re in South Florida I can explain how.

  8. WALTER MORYAN says:

    Wondering how to get solar power installed. What financial assistance is available for low income families. We have 2 young children at home and I am forever disabled living on SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance. Our single family, one story home gets sunlight all day long with no shade and we really want to do this. Please help us to make this a reality soon

  9. Anonymous says:

    Florida’s legislation on renewable energy is lacking.

  10. Andrew says:

    Jack I can help you with your solar, give me a ring 352 242 8471

  11. Jack says:

    Where do I get solar in Naples fl. I still have no idea who to hire.

  12. George says:

    Can we shame home owner insurance companies that are now starting to exclude all solar panels and gear? Ratings are now needed in each state as the Florida Farm Bureau is anti-green, removing all solar coverages at renewal time.

  13. George says:

    This is about our home owner insurance company that is excluding solar panel coverage on renewals? We paid for, permitted, installed and past county inspection on solar panel projects and now, after then fact, the home owner insurance company is showing their anti-green colors. The policy is written by Florida Farm Bureau. A nice goal would be to legislate the definition of the home structure to include roof mounted solar panels. My electric domestic water heater is all excluded now because it has a rooftop solar collector in the plumbing layout. What will they exclude next year — skylights, shingles, etc ! Can’t we inhibit a company from punishing green investment ??? In the overall Farm Bureau marketing they profess to being ‘green’ and care about the environment, and yet this comes down the pike.

  14. Florida Solar Design Group says:

    The property tax exemption is only good for homeowners. Businesses are not exempt, but there is an initiative to get this resolved in 2016. Interconnections are easy in Florida with straightforward rules and accommodating utility companies. I don’t understand the D grade.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is a good analysis. What are the requirements for over 10kW?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone tell me if building a home totally off-grid in an area that has no restrictions as to home type and size, would exempt one from having to pay the impact fee? From what I understand, one can’t ge electrict service without the fee being paid. But what if one doesn’t want electric service?

  17. Anonymous says:

    What do you know about solar that uses refractory prisms in the cell? I posted this article because I couldnt find much on the subject. It’s good, but a little off topic.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Florida just updated their solar power rules you may want to investigate and update with the new Laws just signed into effect.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Or you could look at the date of his post (April of 2007) which would explain his pricing :)

  20. D. Bartley says:

    Solar panels are now selling for $1 per watt (Canadian Solar ex. $300/300 watt panel), installation adds another dollar and inverters add another.

    I just received a quote in Ft Myers for $2.79/watt net system installed (FAFCO).

    The $9/watt price hasn’t been around since 2008. Florida Gulf Coast University paid $8.50/watt for 2 mega watts that year. The price has plummeted since then.

    I suspect some of the posts here are at the behest of FP&L since they are shaking in their shoes that their grip on the necks of consumers is slipping. Their business model as the majority supplier of our electricity no longer makes sense.

  21. Sandra Kelly says:

    Hello Mr. Swanson,
    I would like a copy of your PP presentation as well. Thanks.

    1. John A. Swanson says:

      I have sent copies of the PowerPoint (or PDF if Powerpoint is to big to get through your email) to everyone who has sent me an email address. If I missed you, please send an email to [email protected] and I will attach a copy to my reply.

      I have also put this presentation on Facebook as an album. The Facebook name is “Residential Solar Power” and the address is
      On Facebook I have annotated each slide with additional text, similar to what I might say if I was giving a presentation of the material.
      I would appreciate feedback (“Likes”) if you find the Facebook format useful. Questions and comments are of course welcome.

      I also give suitable portions of this presentation to organizations at no charge. If you are in the central Florida area contact me to arrange a date.

      Rember, I am retired and believe in Solar Energy. I do not charge for my information/presentations.

      John Swanson

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr.Swanson Would you please send me your PowerPoint presentation? Thank you kind Sir :} my e-mail is: [email protected]

  23. York says:

    Dear Mr Swanson,
    I am going to move from Germany to Florida and want to install a PV System on my roof.I would very much like to get your PowerPoint and get your contractor information.
    Thanks a lot
    my email: [email protected]

  24. Michael Simon says:

    Interested in more info. I live in a condo development made up of 4 building quads, each with 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs apartments. I own mine. I am interested in pitching the condo board on the idea of going solar here, since the roof is considered their property.
    Thoughts/guides for me?

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Hi Michael,

      Give this form a go and someone will reach out to help you.

  25. richard says:

    hi mr john swansom please email you power point to [email protected] have a second home in florida and would love to install solar pv as at home in the uk.

  26. Ruth Shaw says:

    I really appreciate your comments and knowledge, Mr. Swanson. My husband and live in the Villages as well. Would you please email me that PowerPoint to [email protected].

  27. John Swanson says:

    Joe Ballew
    What you are looking at goes way beyond Net Metering, since you are not using any energy for the Solar to cmmpensate. You are looking to become an IPP (Independent Power Producer).
    The economics will depend entirely on yhat relationship you can establish with the local utility. I believe they would be requied to pay you at their “avoided cost” rate, which is a fraction of the residential rate.
    The utility might be interested in a higher level of support if you help them meet their renewable energy requirements.
    Bottom line: Set up an appointment with the Renewable Energy Coordinator at the local utility.
    John Swanson

    1. Lou says:

      Mr Swanson, Could you please send your powerpoint to [email protected]? We are headed back to our home in the Melbourne, FL area next fall (2013). Thank you!

  28. joe ballew says:

    Hi What i am woundering is if i was to buy a peice of land here in jacksonville fl, and put at least a 10000kwh system on this property. If i had nothing on this property but grid tie back system how much money would i be looking to make on something like this selling back to power company here?

  29. Sunshinebound says:

    I am so glad I found this site. It has a lot to offer for a newbie. Sunshine bound and solar all the way.

  30. Tommy says:

    I received John Swanson’s Powerpoint above, it is Excellent and very detailed. I highly recommend asking John for it. His knowledge of Solar Power is impressive!

  31. John Swanson says:

    I have installed 10Kw on my house in The Villages, FL(I am now net 0), and installed 38.6KW on Temple Shalom in The Villages. I am getting these systems installed for $3.00 per watt, and the residential system gets the Federal Tax Credit of 30%. (Charitable contribution of 35% for the Temple.) When you crunch the numbers we retirees in the 35% tax bracket can show an after tax return equivalent to a 14% annuity (try getting one of those!).
    With the drastic drop in solar panels (under $1.20 per watt is standard), and I have seen as low at $0.90 (or sale prices as low as $0.72).
    We really do not need the state involved, and the Federal assist is good until the end of 2016. The time for Florida solar power has arrived.
    I also have a solar hot water system with two collectors and an 80 gal tank.
    All this equipment is instrumenteed (I am an engineer), so I have good performance numbers.
    All this information is available in a Powerpoint Presentation available on request. I can also give you contractor information if you want.
    John Swanson, Member: Nation Academy of Engineering [email protected]

  32. Jamar Miller says:

    Cant believe Florida isnt leading the WORLD in Solar panel/energy generation, with all the Sun Florida Gets. I have a house in Japan with Solar panels on it and It pays 100 percent of my electric bill and I am usually up 200 dollars a month after that. My house in Florida doesnt have anything, but I need/want to fix that asap.

  33. Ellen Schindler says:

    If you want the Florida legislature to offer incentive programs for solar energy installation packages, you must elect representatives and a governor who promise to reinstate the program that nominally sunseted in June 2010.
    You may have noticed the majority of members of our current state legislature and the governor have very little interest in providing those incentives and some even state thay don’t “believe ” in global warming, as though that is a religion that tests a person’s belief system. We have elections coming up up this spring and fall and can vote out those would be representatives who do not understand the need for converting to solar power or are in the pockets of utility companies. It is up to us.

  34. Carlton Myers says:

    We are now in process of installing a solar panel array on our barn to provide power for the business and home. We just completed our solar hot water system. Now, we find the state has discontinued all incentive programs! My question is,”Why?” Do we no longer need to be conserving energy? Is Florida now saturated with home and small business solar installations and we no longer have a need for some assistance? I don’t think so. This is expensive stuff, and we could sure use some help!!
    THANKS FOR LISTENING [email protected]

  35. Carlton Myers says:

    We are now in process of installing a solar panel array on our barn to provide power for the business and home. We just completed our solar hot water system. Now, we find the state has discontinued all incentive programs! My question is,”Why?” Do we no longer need to be conserving energy? Is Florida now saturated with home and small business solar installations and we no longer have a need for some assistance? I don’t think so. This is expensive stuff, and we could sure use some help!!

  36. stephen mcewen says:

    i have posted before i am looking to form a group to file for our remaining rebates due by the state of florida in feel they have misapropriated federal money. contact [email protected]

  37. Dave says:

    I am waiting to hear about a class action lawsuit against the state. If anyone hears of anything, I hope you post it. 52% of the agreed upon rebate is not the aggreement I agreed too when I spent $39000 for a 5kw system. But what so they care, they don’t live in our world an if it is not money in their pockets, the state goverent does not care.

  38. stephen mcewen says:

    I just recieved about 52% of what i actually was sold by the state for 20,000.00. why my forms were the first few recieved by the state i feel the state still owes me the balance and interest on the funds paid and not paid. I would like to form a group to bring legal action against the state for misrepresentation and misapprpriation of federal funds.

  39. Victoria Dieterle says:

    I just got a check today for half the amount I was suppose to get. I am owed another $5000.00. I am concerned that if I cash this check I am accepting that this will be my only payment. Is anyone filing a class action lawsuit??

    1. Anonymous says:

      So the state doesn’t get paid by you the taxpayer? So, the “rebate” or more accurately, welfare check you pay to recieve wasn’t enough, so you will pay for a lawyer, then pay the state to hire a lawyer, so that you can force the state to force you to pay more to fund your own welfare? Have some pride welfare recipient. Pay for your own goods.

  40. Mary says:

    Check arrived today, October 11, 2011. Should I cash the check or hold out for rest of rebate. There is nothing in the letter or on the check that says “if cashed you are no longer entitled to remainder of rebate.”

  41. P says:

    The media is following this story. Just saw this on the nightly news the other night.

  42. Tim Blodgett says:

    I spoke with someone in authority at the Dept of Agriculture & this is the latest story; The State finally processed the money and they are saying the checks will equal about 52% of what you applied for. State approval means that the money can be obligated and released to the “printer” who physically prints the check. They said it’ll be about a week before you get it in the mail, i presume by certified mail. I almost believe them since the timing of the check release corresponds with the end of the fiscal year and that’s usually when extraordinary government money flows. We’ll see. Notice the media isn’t following this story.

  43. Rick says:


    Some Floridians who applied for solar energy rebates will get checks from the state this week.

    Each of the 8,800 approved applicants will get a check for 52 percent of their request.

  44. Sherrie Slaboda says:

    I, too, applied for the rebate 12/2009 for a 5 Kw system. In april 2011 I received a letter requesting confirmation of my system. This had already been sent but I had it resent by FAX & by certified mail. As of today 10/1/11 I have heard nothing. Waiting, waiting. Oh, they gave me a number to call 850 487 3800. I’ll try the # Monday.

  45. Colin says:

    FPL just sent me a rebate check for the 2.76Kw I added. What a great deal – $2 a watt when solar panel prices are dropping to just over a $1.50 a watt. With Enphase micro inverters the price is finally getting “doable”.
    I also put 3.22Kw on before the Florida state rebate program sunset. I have to be honest and say that I did not expect to get any Florida rebate. Judging by the quick depletion of funds – and the wording of the offer :
    “the Governor’s Energy Office, will continue to accept and process applications until June 30, 2010, placing them on a waiting list in the event there are funding opportunities in the future.”
    So for me I am happy to get the percentage; may even use some of it to squeeze a few more panels up there. I am adding solar (I put thermal hot water on first) with the thought that I am paying for it all. The arguments for and against incentives, tax rebates, and the argument that any technology that is worthwhile should not require help from the government (although Oil, Coal, mining, and agriculture ALL get tax money in one form or another) is moot as far as I am concerned. In a few years the cost should be within reach of big box stores (I saw Solar hot water at Home Depot today), and I do not mind being an early adopter – this technology is what I like. My initial ROI was decades – as I get tax returns, FPL rebates, and now a percentage of Florida rebate, it goes down – I should be under 5 years when all the dust settles.
    My biggest return now is still watching the meter go backwards (it is digital – but the dashes switch direction) with the AC on! And I just ordered the Volt (lease – it is way too expensive, and way too early to buy it); so now I truly feel like I am sticking my finger in Hugo Chavez’s eye, and any other foreign country, greedy business men, or short sighted politician that keeps the US in a continuous deficit with imported oil.
    And I am not against domestic oil, gas, coal, pig poop – bring it all on because there is no reason we should not be taking advantage of every source available to create jobs and increase productivity. The more domestic resources we have, and the more of us that put solar up, drive EV – the more gas will fall in price. You may not see it for awhile, but watch the Saudi’s, Iran, Iraq, etc – scramble to lower the price when it does start. It will be like everyone got a weekly raise – better than a stimulus any day!
    If Florida ever gets into REC or SREC, or any similar plan I would add more, try to fit 10KW up there. Then ROI would be nothing, and you are looking at an investment. As it is though – I am not too worried about ROI, I truly do not feel like anyone owes me anything.

  46. carol says:

    I have been waiting for a rebate for my 8-09 installed solar hot water heater too long. Money ran out. Then I called the wk. it was approved by state officials. Not yet, they say early spring. I call every 2-3 months and get the runaround. Oh, you are on the list and we have your account. You’ll receive it in the spring 11, then early summer, then fall. I am tired and have been too patient. I call 800-490-2659 or 474-9504. They answered last time. Governor Scott’s energy office. GAG! I am ready to act with whomever else is feeling more aggressive about retrieving a refund.
    Carol James

  47. Sarah says:

    Anybody in the forum or reading this have any experience with teco (tampa electric) ?

  48. Tim Blodgett says:

    Wake up people. You’ve been scammed by the State. The a/c program that was paid off before all those who are still waiting was done to cover the misappropriated funds that were taken from us by the Christ Administration to fund a rebate program to help his re-election campaign. He was caught but many of those who were part of it are still in power. The news media neglected to cover this, those who are still in power still control it and want it to go away. My rebate has gone from 3 months to 6 months to next year, Spring, summer, Christmas, to 85%, 65%, 50% and now 45%. Are you noticing a pattern here? Senator Nelson is an empty shell. He makes an empty speech, an empty policy statement, with an empty smile. If he gave a damn about the federal funds that are being used to cover state employee butts he’d hold their feet to the fire, demand accountability and get us our money. He won’t, he’s no better than the thieves in the State House who stole our money. When you get a chance, take a look at the new programs being offered by the utility companies. They are identical to the one we were tricked into believing in. Same program, different address, same results…a huge bureaucracy that stays in business by finding reasons to under fund the program, encourage people to join and withhold funds from the public who qualify. Don’t support Florida solar it is loaded with untrustworthy people who do not act in the public interest.
    From one who learned the hard way.

  49. Tim Blodgett says:

    Wake up people. You’ve been scammed by the State. The a/c program that was paid off before all those who are still waiting was done to cover the misappropriated funds that were taken from us by the Christ Administration to fund a rebate program to help his re-election campaign. He was caught but many of those who were part of it are still in power. The news media neglected to cover this, those who are still in power still control it and want it to go away. My rebate has gone from 3 months to 6 months to next year, to 85%, 65%, 50% and now 45%. Are you noticing a pattern here? Senator Nelson is an empty shell. He makes an empty speech, an empty policy statement, with an empty smile. If he gave a damn about the federal funds that are being used to cover state employee butts he’d hold their feet to the fire, demand accountability and get us our money. He won’t, he’s no better than the thieves in the State House who stole our money. When you get a chance, take a look at the new programs being offered by the utility companies. They are identical to the one we were tricked into believing in. Same program, different address, same results…a huge bureaucracy that stays in business by finding reasons to under fund the program, encourage people to join and withhold funds from the public who qualify. Don’t support Florida solar it is loaded with untrustworthy people who do not act in the public interest.
    From one who learned the hard way.

  50. JAMES T MARIANI says:

    All of us on the solar waiting list somehow became “orphans” of the state’s energy programs. All of the other solar rebates were processed as promised and all applicants previous to us received their rebate in full. While we waited on the list, the state offered a new appliance rebate program. 17 million dollars went out to those who bought new energy star appliances. All of them were paid in full. The HVAC rebate program started soon after that, ended abruplty, but those who were on the list received their rebate as promised. Now some still sit on this solar waiting list expecting 1/2 of the original amount promised.

  51. Gary says:

    As a side note Senator Nelson has been very supportive of our case and has written me twice stating his position. I’m sure without his nudging the Energy Office would have ignored my calls.

    I have just emailed his office with details of the lasted fiasco

  52. Gary says:

    I’m in. That HVAC payout was really annoying. Their last little scam of saying we needed to submit interconnect statements by the 15th of Aug or we don’t qualify is also an attempt to defraud us. It didn’t work as Progress energy re-sent the forms the next day! They apparently already had sent the form when the State first requested them back in April.

    Now they are saying, after Bill Nelson contacted them and made them call me, I should only expect 45% of what they owe. I’m pissed!

  53. Mary says:

    Got a call from Florida Energy office that my rebate had been approved. They were going to pay 50% of rebate and I should have the check by Christmas 2011. I applied late August 2009.

  54. Bill D. says:

    I am one of 13,000 consumers in Florida who HAS NOT BEEN PAID the Solar rebate of $20,000 by the FEC, YES they infact commited FRAUD! Florida received $126 Million from the recovery act April 2010, to be used for GREEN ENERGY, THAT gave them the FUNDS to pay the $54 Million they owed for Rebates. The Federal Government Audited the state and found MIS-USE, MIS- ALLOCATION of funds.(OAS-RA-10-12 Audit) They have since allocated $31Million for Energy rebates at emergency session NOVEMBER 16/17th 2010. That left a short fall of $23 Million. They CHANGED the florida statute at that session to read ,they would pay all HVAC rebates FIRST, and pay the LEFTOVERS (SOLAR) the remainder (ABOUT HALF)of the $20,000 rebates and (THE REST WILL DISAPPEAR)They have paid the HVAC rebates $1500)in full 100%! The original statute (377.806) said FIRST COME FIRST SERVE! I would like to start a class action suit against the state, if you feel the same ,please Email me at [email protected]! There are 13,000 of us, that should be enough to get it done! Thank You!

  55. Tim Blodgett says:

    To Pstreicher,
    The issue of shade savings from roof mounted solar panels is negligible. Almost all roof venting in Florida homes is grossly inefficient to relieve the 160-180 degree heat build up of a typical Florida attic in summer. Thus, even if you shade 1/2 of the roof area, the heat build up from other areas will quickly fill the space until it vents…ineffectively to the outside. The only exception is if your home is completely shaded by a tree. I put reflective shingles on my roof(a 30% heat reduction) prior to the panel installation and increased the ventilation by 1500%(an estimated 20-25% heat reduction) and I added a 25 watt solar powered roof vent(another supposed 30% heat reduction) that turns on at 85 degrees. I must admit the garage is much cooler in the summer. Adding the caulking, LED lighting, smart switches, double pane vinyl replacement windows, 18.5 seer heat pump, high efficiency pool pump & solar hot water heater…my last bill was $43, half of which was fees. My average bill was $275/mth. I saved $232 and paid the Bank $334 in interest on the home equity line of credit I used to fiance all the improvements. Net cost(not savings) of converting to solar was $102 for the month of April. A low consumption month. I feel like in order to save the whales I have to kill the seals. The country is going broke, our various levels of government are moving to austerity meaning bare essentials not rebate programs and the Florida government likes the feel of money they haven’t had to distribute to a select group of people who have been vilified by the Legislature through the media as “greedy rich people”. Apparently this includes me. Makes me want to give back my next disability check and go on welfare so I can get a raise. My advise is if you don’t have the cash in hand, don’t buy it. The ROI is not what the salesmen promise and the State of Florida’s agenda does not include your best interest. Good luck.

  56. William McNeely says:

    I installed a 4kw solar pv system on my home in Ft. Pierce Florida last summer after signing a net metering agreement with FPUA but 4 days later they pulled my meter – installed a digital and now pay 4 cents per kw & charge me 12 cents for night electric consumpsion. I have spoken up at meetings and recieved some good press but nothing is changing. Any ideas??? [email protected]

  57. Solman17 says:

    Billy, I feel your pain. Some of the cooperatives that are part of the Touchstone group in Alabama do not have net metering or have something they claim is net metering which is not. Why do they drag their feet when solar helps all members of the cooperative. They give a lot of excuses. None of them are well thought out or rationale. Start calling and writing them to protest. Write the public service commission. Cut your electricity usage to the bone and install all gas appliances and go solar with a battery backup system. The coops use your money to lobby against the Clean Air Act and pro nuclear. Who needs them?

  58. Joe says:

    I think a flood of e-mails to all the Senators, reprenentatives and committee chairman would be in order. Is there a complete listing of all email addresses for all these people – the interest level with our government on the solar rebate program has to be revived.

  59. Billy Fuller says:

    well I have Read all of the post on here about florida,s Rebate money comeing late, But Folks cheer up it could Be worse, you could be like us up here in south alabama we dont have anything we dont pay for and it dont seem like we are going to get anything ,But we are trying to get something going ,these co-op,s Realy suck ,s But solar Realy works ,——-Bill

  60. Solman17 says:

    Latest I got from Governor’s office was that it would be late fall or winter before payments due to problems encountered with a few of the applications. Since the remaining proceeds are to be fairly prorated to all applicants the application approval must be complete before making the final calculations. I now understand the rebate will be closer to 50-60%. That is still enough to make the ROI favorable. If it is not a windfall profit we can be content to get a small return and still have our solar panels saving us money. Last month I sold 465 kwh excess to the utility company. My bill was $0.75. Not bad.

  61. Pstreicher says:

    I’m glad to have found this forum on solar energy. I am so interested in doing this but I have some serious calculations to look at. Yes, we’ve seen all the calulations no what 25 years can do. But, what about the added benefit of the solar panels shielding the house from the sun and thus saving on electric for air conditioning here in Florida? Has anyone figured that in? I’ve not seen it anywhere. I would think that this would move more people to make the investment if proof were given to show the ROI would be years less. Anyone care to give it a try?

  62. Gary says:

    That they have changed their story again is very worrying… the explanation given me was that they had to deal with the HVAC rebates first so the correct amounts could be calculated. The lady insisted they had to have it all done by the end of the financial year which is rapidly approaching.

    I will call again this week.


  63. Richard says:

    Thanks for the post Gary. I just called the energy office yesterday and got a different response. I missed the payout by 8 weeks since my application was approved in august 2009. They told me that checks would be cut in late summer or early fall and would be about half of what is owed. I am owed about $40K for two 5KW PV solar systems. Here is my concern.

    The statue of limitation on a lawsuit is 2 years. If they wait until august 2011 and pay me half then I may not be able to sue for the other half. Since rebates are to be paid in the order received if funds are available then I should get the full amount. Since approximately $30 million was available at the time of my approved application then myself along with everyone from about June 2009 to January 2010 would deplete the remaining funds. The rest of the applications from about Feb 2010 to June 2010 would then be out of money.

    What I did not understand is why they held on to the money that the federal gov gave them. They got about $78 million but kept $30 million of it. Why the delay. Then I got some hope when a decision was to be made in nov 2010. The word out was rebates would be paid in jan 2011 at beginning of year but spread out across all waiting with only half the payout. Then after calling again in january 2011 the story changed to march or april 2011. Now another call and the date has moved to late summer or early fall and only after they looked up my approved application date.

    So beware. The state may be waiting for the 2 year statue so lawsuits can not be accepted. I hope I am wrong but I can not see how the state could win if they clearly made the statement “refunds would be paid in the order received if funds are available”. No one would have installed a solar PV system without a rebate coming. The state of Florida is rapidly lossing trust to it’s residences. How can we believe anything they offer in the future.

  64. Gary says:

    So I called the Governors office today and seems like fairly good news. The lady told me that many of the HVAC rebates were denied and that money goes back in the pot to pay the outstanding solar rebates. I was expecting about half of the $20500 they owe me, but I was told I would get a total of $19,200 as my prorated amount ( $18700 for PV and $500 for water … very happy about that) She also said checks must be sent before the end of the financial year June 30th or there would be a tonne of paperwork for them.

    Of course I don’t actually have a check yet, but the best news so far.

    It seems they might want to do a new program of some sort, which would be difficult to premote if they don’t make good on the last one.


  65. Solman17 says:


    Please share what you find out about the ETA of the checks. The rebate program has been part of an evolutionary process to give our country a large portion of our energy portfolio from clean, renewable energy. If you follow the development of solar around the world you will see that other countries have worked through similar problems, but the results have been very good. In Europe now there is more energy coming from solar than from dirty coal. Over there, solar provides almost 20% of electrical energy, and solar has been so successful in meeting their energy needs and creating jobs that they are now pushing for nearly 100% by 2050. China also has huge growth in solar. Some of us in Florida have had to be patient and make sacrifices. Yet, most of us did not go into solar strictly to make a dollar. Yes, the rebate program was made hastily and did not incorporate things learned from the European experience which was certainly not perfect either. Those of us who have the privilege to be watching our meters turning backwards will not begrudge the lucky ones that got the full rebate. As a cautious buyer I was fully aware the state program could run out of money and made my plans accordingly. As it turns out we all are getting a generous 30% federal tax credit for our purchases. Our energy costs are fixed while others will soon be facing higher costs as expensive nuclear plants are built and natural gas prices recover their higher price. I never expected a windfall profit out of the state rebate even if I did get one, but if we keep in mind that our ROI investment over the 25-30 year life of the system is still better than most CDs available now then we should be content that we could help lead the way for renewable energy in our state and still get a modest return. For those complaining that the taxpayers should not be paying for solar tax credits and rebates we should remember that if all energy sources have subsidies dropped and have to pay for the environmental damages they cause for us, our children and future generations then solar, the clean energy direct from the sun is always the best deal.

  66. JP says:

    @SolarSanity – Agree. Government should subsidized the manufactures like it does coal, gas, and utilities. In this manner the subsidies would be hidden (like in the mentioned industries) and idiots like you would be quiet.

  67. Gary says:

    my application was recieved by the state on 10/22/2009…. i’ve seen nada!

    I talked to them in January 2011 and was told the HVAC rebates had to be paid first, PV rebates(partial payment) would go out by March… I’m going to call again this week as March is here but the check isn’t

  68. Dinkar B. Koppikar says:

    I should say that Florida Solar power rebate program is a fraud. I put 8.6 kw system on my roof in January 2010 and put in my application for rebate on March 16, 2010. I am still waiting for rebate check. I believe these programs are manipulated in such a way that only certain favored persons get fat rebate checks and the rest only false assurances. Don’t tell me lies. I am not going to be fooled.

  69. SolarSanity says:

    When the cost of a solar system gets affordable without government rebates, then it makes sense. Florida and the Feds should cut it out! That money is coming from the pockets of the taxpayers, not from some “daddy” in the government. These types of programs are why governments all across the country are fiscally unsound.

  70. P says:

    In response to “Brian”, I wouldn’t say the state is blameless. IMO, they could have done more to warn people. I was just trying to clear up that they never guaranteed it and they were up front about it. I wasn’t “condemning” people either. I just didn’t think it was right for some people to condemn the state for rebates it never guaranteed. T

    It’s not the state’s fault that over zealous sale people oversold the rebate on high hopes.

    I would blame the state for a poorly implemented rebate system though. IMO, either you guarantee all the rebates no matter how many, or you make sure that you can process the rebates as they come in ASAP and if necesary terminate the program early, or you have a pre rebate signup to get your funds allocated.

    As for politicians, since when can anybody ever trust what a politician says? Making a financial decision based on something a politician promises is again, just a gamble they’ll keep their word. As for corruption, etc, well, not going to go there. Times change. The economy changed. Politicians flip flop all the time and I’m sure they’d argue that the ecomony just forced the hand and they had to make different decisions.

  71. patrick says:

    Well, I may be able to share a ray of hope and say that is my understanding that new funds have been approved as of November 2010 to fund the solar rebate program! Yea! Checks are due to be written between ‘spring and late fall.’ lol We will see, lets keep our fingers crossed. I got this information from the office of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos. Not everybody on the list will be able to be paid. I filed my rebate January 2009 and so, i’m fairly high on the list. I don’t know how much money has been allocated, i’m glad for any information that anybody has.
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For more information, contact
    Nov. 16, 2010 Bruce Kershner 407-339-2010

    Solar industries group praises rebate program funding

    Lawmakers acted swiftly in reducing consumer backlog

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s leading solar energy industry group today praised lawmakers for
    reinstating payments to consumers who purchased solar energy equipment under a popular statewide
    rebate program.

    In these difficult economic times, lawmakers voted to use federal stimulus funding to provide rebates to
    commercial and residential consumers who purchased energy-efficient air conditioning units and solar
    panels under Florida energy incentive programs. For more than a year, thousands of hard-working
    Floridians have been waiting for solar rebates promised to them before the popular program ran out of

    The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) applauded leaders of the House and Senate for
    including the rebates on their list of priority items during Tuesday’s special session. Lawmakers voted to
    reinstate funding just hours after they were sworn into office.

    “We applaud Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon for recognizing the
    importance of these rebates to thousands of Florida consumers,’’ said Bruce Kershner, executive
    director of FlaSEIA.

    “The approach taken by the Legislature spreads limited resources across a wider number of consumers,”
    Kershner said.

    FlaSEIA is the leading voice for contractors, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers that provide solar
    water heating and solar electric systems for tens of thousands of consumers across the state.

    FlaSEIA remains concerned that consumers are properly informed of the savings and benefits of
    purchasing and installing solar energy equipment. FlaSEIA encourages consumers to check its website
    ( to obtain a list of properly licensed contractors, manufacturers, distributors, and
    retailers who meet the high ethical standards required of its members.

  72. patrick says:

    Well, I may be able to share a ray of hope and say that is my understanding that new funds have been approved as of November 2010 to fund the solar rebate program! Yea! Checks are due to be written between ‘spring and late fall.’ lol We will see, lets keep our fingers crossed. I got this information from the office of Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos. Not everybody on the list will be able to be paid. I filed my rebate January 2009 and so, i’m fairly high on the list. I don’t know how much money has been allocated, i’m glad for any information that anybody has.

  73. Derek says:

    ^ I am with allthatwhichis. I was searching and found the Solar Energy Systems Incentive Program that has no more available funding, which is very misleading.

    I am starting up a photovoltaic system for running live sound reinforcement system for festivals, parades. Looking for local/government incentives in Tallahassee/FL area. Speaker system runs 2-5kW, looking to spend $20-40k (provided sufficient funding)

    Any suggestions on available resources? Thanks to all for compiling this helpful information


  74. allthatwhichis says:


    Should the information on the big rebates available in Florida be removed since there is no more money available? Or at lest updated so those of us a bit behind on things don’t have to read every comment from 2007 to 2009 to find this out. Got my hopes up for a good hour…

    Have a sunny day!


  75. Brian says:

    In response to “P” who finds the state blameless in the rebate debacle, you are correct that there was no “guarantee” of a rebate. But those of us who expected honesty and integrity from our elected officials were hoodwinked. The salesmen weren’t the only ones giving us (false) assurances. They were confidant of the rebate because there were representatives elected based on this very topic. It was to be a top priority with several members of congress who then voted NOT to fund the program. Instead, they diverted what funds were available to fund projects by huge energy companies like FP&L. That is, in my book corruption.
    Before you condemn those of us who put our faith in the system, do a little background research on the topic.

  76. christine says:

    I am an American living in a third world country. I have been an expat for several years, helping others. All of you people who are worried about air conditioning and pool heaters- it is really quite sickening especially since the USA greedily consumes more than half of the entire earth’s resources while there are poor people here starving with no where to live. INSTALL SOLAR ENERGY NOW- fossil fuel will not be available. Trust me on this because I have been to many countries without the “First World American Blinders” on…I know the reality outside the USA. We are PAST the time for clean energy. Don’t you think the USA has exploited enough people in order to have their luxury lifestyle??? Believe it or not, there are people who have never had air conditioning, or a heated pool- or electricity for that matter. You people have the responsibility to just suck it up and pay whatever the cost is to get clean energy and stop exploitation of other nations! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  77. Pat says:

    For a 2 4×8 panel, 120 gallon hot water system, a solar telemarketting firm initially wanted $10k!!!! Another local installer wanted to install a closed loop german system for $12k!!! Telemarketting firm finally came down to $7.5k.

    Finally found somebody that would install a 2 panel 120 gallon hot water system for $6k. The parts alone run just under $4k.

    Depending on how far you mount your panels from your tank, you might also need a few hundred in copper (mine were far away). Then there are different quality controllers, goldline (no display), or what I got, stecca (with a display). Two people “should” be able to install in about a day. Beware solar hot water installers that try to sell you plastic panels built for heating pools. The ones for heating home water are much heavier and made of copper.

    One note for florida residents south of ocala with open loop systems in mild freeze zones, beware freeze damage!!! Lots of systems are installed very poorly, no freeze valves, freeze recirculation feature off (or they’re using a solar pv pump), copper lines not insulated, temp probe installed poorly or on wrong side etc. Watch out!!! Everybody says these systems can withstand mild freezes but that’s only when PROPERLY installed. And even then, watch out!!! These panels can freeze and burst!!!

    I almost went solar pv. I was quoted 25k for a 5kw system. But I decided to wait since I didn’t think the FL money was going to come through.

  78. Tim Blodgett says:

    Oh, to answer some previous posts, I live in Florida, 10 people installed my system in 1 day, 4 watched including the electrician & a potential buyer, Solar hot water is set high and loses its heat at a rate just less than 2 degrees per hour, thus 160 at 7 pm is about 140-146 by 7 am the next day and you will definitely know if it was cloudy the day before. Hospital heating pads are set at 105 to prevent skin damage, Scalding occurs at 140. It takes the back-up about an hour to reheat a tank instead of 10-15 minutes. Why? 40-60 gallon tank with 2 4500watt elements are now 80 gallons with 1 4500watt element. Hope this is helpful.

  79. Tim Blodgett says:

    Well, I’ve had my 5K system for a year. Here’s a summary. 5K PV system, solar world 230 panels & solaris inverter($43K), solar hot water($5K) set to 160 back-up 120, Dual pane vinyl low-e replacement windows($5k), 1800 sq ft house, reflective life-time shingles to roof($13k), 18.5 SEER heat pump ($5K),Capacitor box(doesn’t really appear to do anything but act as a surge suppressor)($300.00) Add zone heating ($1.8K), 25watt roof vent +additional venting($650.00), converting all lighting to LED. Home equity loan $68K @ 6.25%. After rebates I’m paying $333/month in interest. FL State owes $20.5K not paid as of 1/19/11. Previous usage 2000-2100kw/month avg, $275/mth progress energy average. Now: PV generates 8100kw/year. 2000kw goes back to progress energy annually in Febuary under net metering, I expect a check or credit for less than $275. Monthly bills from $10-110/month. $30-50 in summer, $60-127 in winter, less in fall. My lowest energy bill cost less than the fees and taxes. If you add it all together I’m paying more for interest than I was for energy per year. About a couple hundred bucks. I doubt I will break even in 9 years as I was sold on by the sales people. My effort is the envy of the neighborhood, but being on a fixed income I’d trade it all for an honest politician. You want to help the solar industry? Write your politicians and tell them to allow home owners to fund a system with their 401k or IRA without a tax penalty. Then things will happen. And regulate the price guaging installers. A 5k PV system should cost about $23K not 43k like I paid. A hot water system about $4.5-6k for 1-2 panels or 1-2 80 gallon tanks.

  80. Robert Brill says:

    They say misery loves company but I believe its time to up the game. I put out almost 39,000.00 for my solar panels and water heater panel. I would not have done this if not for the State of Florida’s written contractual agreement to pay back what they promised. I want to find a high profile lawyer who would handle a class action suit against the State of Florida ,Ex-govenor Crist and whoever else is responsible for making promises they can’t keep and getting thousands of people to go out on a limb in good faith. Its time for the state to be responsible like they expect us to be.

  81. JP says:

    Thank you P; I have read that new water tanks are much better insulated; but I could not believe thay would keep the water hot for over 10 hours.

    With regards to the installation. This is really a deal breaker; the systems are really coming down in price; but the installation is really high. And to qualify for rebates/credits, it needs to be done by a certified installer. Something is out of whack.

  82. P says:

    I can’t help explain solar pv installation costs. $140/hr seems way high though. IMO, Solar PV is the last option. I’d foam my attic before going PV.

    As for the solar hot water question, the answer is that the water is still hot in the tank. You’d be amazed how well insulated those tanks are and how long they store heat. I have a solar hot water heater and believe me, that water is still hot the next morning. AND with the electric breaker off to the backup element! Now in the winter months, I have turned the backup element back on as cloudy/rainy days don’t allow the panels to heat up that much. I’m in central FL, today it’s sunny, it’s 50 out right now, and the controller is telling me the panels are already up to 100. In the summer, even on cloudy days, I was still getting a lot of heat out of the panels.

  83. JP says:

    For the past 3 days, I have thrown myself into learning as much as I could about solar with the hopes of making the jump.

    Here are what I’ve learned and I am confused:

    I found a website that analyzed a 4KW grid-tied installation in NY. It used equipment (complete kits) from claiming $2-$3 per Watt (total of $14,063). Installation was assumed at 35 man hours at $140/hr; or $4900. All these numbers are BEFORE any rebate and tax credit.

    I visited, and sizing a system for my home (5KW – 5.5KW), it came up with two systems (kits) in the $3-$3.36 per Watt range, totaling between $16,900 to $18,000. Now imagine my excitement when I found out FL was refunding $4 per Watt!! I had to breathe in a paper bag. That made the system FREE!!!! (of course, then I read about the program being dead and/or not funded)

    Now, to the installation cost. What I read in this site, does not match what I posted in my previous paragraph. IF the installation takes 35 hours; and the going rate in NY is ~$140/hr (what a specialist in the medical field makes); how in the world could be the same or more in FL? Can someone explain?

    Finally, I have natural gas water heating in my home. But out of curiosity; how can solar water heating work (in FL or anywhere else for that matter) when the sun goes down at 8PM, and I take a shower 10 hours later at 6AM? Don’t solar water heaters work when most homes are not using hot water?

    Thank you, and great site

  84. deepsea driller says:

    Hello All, great site!…Next week I am installing a 4.6 Kw monocrystaline panel grid tie-in system. Total cost for all components is juat at $16,000 for a DYI as myself in Rhode Island. with Fed rebate the price drops 30%…As one of the contributors wrote..”I don’t ask about the payback of my flat panel TV” I am of the same mind set. I say it’s a nice high being energy effiecient!
    FYI;I own a small subsea wellcontrol oilfield engineering firm I am of teh opinion that oil and gas will not get cheaper in the future.

  85. P says:

    Abner – Does your current water heater have an energy usage chart on it about the estimated yearly cost? If so, look at that, adjust for your current electric rate, divide by 12, and that’s a good starting point.

    But ultimately it depends on how many people are showering and when they shower, morning or evening. If most shower in the evening, then the backup element will be working away at night to heat the water back up and you might not see the most in savings. That’s how we are. So I just turned off the backup heater breaker. I’m in Central FL, and the electric heater element has been off for the past 8 months and we’ve had super hot water (hotter than before). Only in the past few weeks have I had to turn the backup element on.

    I’m thinking of putting a 220v timer on the backup element circuit so that it only runs in the afternoon if the water isn’t hot enough by then.

  86. Abner says:

    This may be to late. I hope not. I am having a solar hot water heater system put in today (11/23/2010).
    The cost is $6500 installed. I was told on a $170 monthly bill I would see a drop of $70 a month. Yet I keep on reading that this may not be real.
    Pls help

  87. manny says:

    watch out for scams in sarasota solar business!

  88. Mark says:

    I live in Orlando. I’m now just starting my research on Solar Power for my home. does anyone have a site that can give me information for someone local to install a system on my house that won’t rip me off?

  89. Mary says:

    I live in Pensacola and the costs for a complete turn key system here is around $5$6 per watt depending on size. Thats the complete cost installed by a solar contractor. No hidden costs. If your paying $9 8 or $7 you are being ripped.

  90. Asenath says:

    Are you for real? “Wanna”? I thought this was a legitimate site!

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Yes, we are a legitimate site Asenath, why you wanna hate on us just for using language which actually comes out of people’s mouths?

  91. J says:

    For those wondering about a solar water heater vrs a on-demand water heater (tankless is a misnomer here), there’s no reason you can’t pair the two. Have a solar water heater tank feed into the on-demand system, and it will reduce the cost of the on-demand system, because it will not have to work as hard to heat already warmed water.

    This is why I prefer to use on-demand instead of tankless for naming such systems; tankless makes you think you can’t have a tank feeding it!

  92. Greg Parker says:

    Hi i do not know why solar cost so much the material cost about $4 bucks a watt they want $9 bucks a watt installed. 4x 5000 watts = 20.000 9x5000watts= 45.000 thats 25.000 to install sounds like too much to me

  93. Colin B Mckinney says:

    Colin. If you scroll all the way to the top you will see my post after I put in Thermal water heater. Prices have dropped A LOT since then. I know I have paid for the water heater by now. I just put in 3.22 Kw voltaic, the website I put together ( was to share anything I could to help others do the same.

    Installed prices seem to be around $8 per watt; I performed the installation myself – except for the Master electrician – for $3.9 per watt. Still will take some time to recoup, but that is not why I put in solar (or the thermal water heater 3 years ago for that matter). Almost 100% of the people that ask about my solar install ask how long the payback is. I ask them how many years before the income from their flat screen TV, in-ground swimming pool, or boat pays for it!

    The permit was probably the hardest – as there was not a lot of information on what was needed, and some confusion that the FSEC needed to approve my design. I put all the documents I eventually turned in on my site. Permit is important – as utility will not put a meter in without it.

    Frankly, I did this myself because I could not afford to do it otherwise. If cost is the only thing holding you up, look into doing it yourself – you then become the contractor, and you sub-contract out any parts you are not comfortable with. Master electrician is a requirement, but a roofer may be needed as well.

    Remember – components are tax free, tax refund is 30% of total cost, power generated EVERY month will add up. And, we do not know if REC, feed-in-tariffs, or state funding may come in the future. If you are on this site – you want to do it – it WILL pay for itself eventually anyway, and when you drive around in your Leaf, Volt, or other EV and you are asked how much it cost to run – say “nothing, I have a filling station on my roof!”

  94. P says:

    To those of you waiting on your FL rebate, I do hope you get it. But at the same time, you should have been more careful in your decision making. I too “almost” took the plunge and got an expensive solar pv package. BUT, I read the fine print. The state was being upfront in that the rebate was NOT guaranteed. They never promised the rebate or guaranteed it. They’ve never promised or guaranteed refunding. It was on their website for all to see. I did my research. By last September, it was already evident that the program was very popular and running out of money. Personally, I think the pv rebate was a bit “too” generous. I could easily tell back then, I would be gambling on the rebate. I based my decision making and pay back period on no rebate getting fulfilled and just 30% off the total amount. I wonder how many people that are still on the hook for the rebate never bothered to check with the state and simply took their solar “salesman” for their word. Every single solar company I called regarding the rebate was not completely honest regarding the rebate. Only when I pressed hard, did they admit that the rebate was not guaranteed. But none offered that info upfront. Some even did terrible tax math. The federal tax credit is on the amount AFTER you discount the florida rebate. ALL OF THEM, every single one, was confident in their belief that more funding would be supplied and to not worry. Who knows, maybe more funding will be supplied. But will enough funding be supplied to take care of every single last person on the list?

    For those of you that truly understood and knew the rebate was not guaranteed and went ahead anyways, you knowingly gambled. Only time will tell if you win or loose. You didn’t do anything. The state has NOT done anything wrong either.

    For those of you that did NOT know, you need to learn that unfortunately you can never trust salespeople and you need to research stuff yourself.

    I wish the best to all of you, and good luck!

  95. Burkhard Klein says:

    In regards to the Florida Solar Rebate I would like to express my disappointment in the lack of funding at this time. These Rebates were heavily advertised in the state by the state and companies that install renewable energy systems. In the name of job growth, future investment in renewable energy sources, independence from oil, be it from the President, or Governor, this program was intended to do good and to entice to the inhabitants of the Sunshine State to use their sunshine for a better environment.

    Lack of attention and quick action of the legislature will halt any movement in the preservation, kill the jobs that were created and unfairly disadvantage individuals and entities that were invited to invest in renewable energy and are waiting now for rebate funding since the end of 2009. Realizing that the State and Country are fighting a debt crisis (as well as all its citizens), a promise is a promise and it is unfair to reap the benefit by starting something and then let it die senselessly.

    My family has invested $45,000 in renewable energy in 2009 and beginning of 2010, has applied for rebates, and been placed on a long waiting list that is lacking any evidence that funding will be made available in the future. Maybe it’s time to move out of Florida and find a place where people do what they say. I will be contacting the legislature to get feedback on this issue and guarantee that many Floridians that are trying to do the right thing are with me on this. LETS ORGANIZE AND CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN THIS MATTER

  96. Jonathan Lee says:

    Glen and the rest, I am in the same boat. I have a $20,000 rebate that I am waiting on. We need to write to our legislators to get them to act. Floridians need to be able to trust their government, especially when we are making large investments to protect our future. If you go to there is a group that has broken down the state rebate by Senator/Representative. They have mailed out letters to each congressman on our behalf. check it out and sign up, there’s strength in numbers! If Floridians lose trust in our government with this rebate program, and all the solar contractors leave the state or find other jobs, there is little hope for solar for Florida in the near future. We need to act now and call for a special session (there is talk of this already) or some other form of action to fund the backlog and move the program forward.

  97. Glen Parker says:

    I’m another Floridian who installed a system in May 2009 on the belief that a rebate was available. I’m on the hook for almost $40,000. My rebate is Approved, but with no funds in 2010, and nothing apparent on the horizon, I’m not sure what to do. Write your representatives and let them know of the lurch you are in.

    For now, DO NOT buy solar in Florida expecting a rebate. If anyone tells you about a Florida rebate in 2010, they are wrong.

  98. Ken says:

    FLORIDA IS NOT PAYING THE $500 REBATE. I put may solar Hot Water system in last November. I just call the Governers office and they said the program ran out of money and it is not a “garrunteed rebate”. I had to pry it of of him that I wasn’t going to get paid. I will never trust the State again

  99. Larry says:

    I put solar panels on my roof last year only to find that when I filed with the state the rebate fund was empty and has not been funded in the 2010 budget. If the state does not put funds back into the program I am on the hook for over $34k instead of the $6k I was told to plan on. I understand I have company, about 7,000 other Floridians who went green, believed what they were told, filed within the stated time frame for the rebate and now are in the same boat I am. Now what?

  100. Kathy Hersh says:

    I heard recently of a program in California which rents the solar panels and maintains them and the customers pay the rent as part of their monthly bill. Even with the rent added, the payments are lower because of the energy savings. How can we make this happen in Florida?

  101. Alvie says:

    I live here in Fl and i would love to have solar in my home. But my problem is that i’m a 100% disabled vet. I dont have any taxes to pay so the 30% tax credit dose not help me.Why dont they come up with something that will help the disabled. It sure would help.. thsnks

  102. Carl says:

    What additional alternative energy activities is the state of Florida considering besides solar energy? I sent some time at an Atlatic Ocean beach recently and was amazed at the amount of energy being provided by the winds and the tides. Needless to say, none of the energy was being used except by a few para surfers using the winds to give them entertainment and exercise. I really feel that we need to be proactive and use these super natural resources that are currently not being used. Only an opinion, I am not an engineer, but I am sure the amount of wind and tidal energy lost at Ormond Beach could provide energy could provide electricty for many of the homes and businesses in the area. Please write, call, email, text city and state officials representing coastal Florida cities and towns to utilize theses unused natural resources.

  103. Tom says:

    Will Florida ever get a similar program to the state of New Jersey from the federal government called SREC’s. They are Solar Renewable Energy Certificates.

  104. Mr Mrs says:

    What BS this program was. Thanks for nothing.

  105. Rachel says:

    We were told that it is highly unlikely tht we’ll get our rebate at this time. Where are all the lawyers who got PV? I challenge all you lawyers to take on Tallahassee and the monopolized utility companies that are paying lobbyists to influence Florida legislature. Florida could thrive with solar power as well as a state-based solar manufacturing industry. Of course this would cut into utility company profits. Someone with legal know-how needs to step up to the plate and organize a good campaign.

  106. shellie says:

    brain, how long have you been waiting? my rebate was approved in jun 2009

  107. Brian says:

    To all concerned, I just now spoke with Hannah in the Governor’s office. She informed me that there would be NO FURTHER rebates granted unless more funding became available. No further funding is anticipated at this time. Anyone whose application has been waiting (as has mine)in the queue for funding are out of luck! Write your legislators NOW!

  108. don says:

    dear paul, how do you know? don

  109. Paul says:

    Please update this page to reflect the current situation in Florida, as of 4/30/2010. Not only are there no funds available moving forward in the current program, the State Rebate program altogether will cease to exist on 7/1/2010. People who were expecting to receive PV rebate money from the State of Florida totaling over $25 million will not receive the promised funding.

  110. Vicky says:

    How do I apply for the $500 rebate from the State of Florida for the installation of a solar hot water heater? Please advise.

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Vicky, signup for a free quote and you will get a buzz. Their quote will incorporate any available rebates and they will apply for them for you or help you apply for them.

  111. M says:

    Florida House Senate passed a bill called PACE

    It allows each city to pass bonds to support solar energy. As much as I want to see incentives for solar energy I’m afraid that this economy will stifle funding for future rebate incentives. I really don’t want to see Florida bankrupt by giving away money we don’t have!
    Think about it, if your friends, sons or daughters asks for money you don’t have except using your credit cards to finance whatever, and you don’t have enough revenue from your job to replenish the bank, you go bankrupt.
    Our State legislators need to pass RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standards) this will bring in investors to build solar farming and REC’s would be worth lots of mullah! Florida then could tax the REC’s thus having additional revenue. Municipalities could install solar farms and benefit from PPA’s and REC’s thus saving and making money. But we have the Energy logiest who don’t want revenue taken away from their constituents. Greed!

  112. Zubin says:

    How do we handle the tax basis of the system cost if we finance the project in partnership with the local utility?

    35% was payable by customer to the contractor upon installation.

    65% was financed through a partnership offered by the local utility wtih loan repayment over 48 months.

    we installed mid year and made 6 loan payments, totaling about 8% of the total cost.

    Should our system cost per tax return be the full 100%, or just the cash basis of 43% as what was paid during 2009?

    If the latter then do we treat the residual payments as if it was a carryover or a subsequent investment in years 2 and 3?

    Thank you,
    A confused Residential Customer

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      This is a unique situation, Zubin. I really think the only way to get an answer is to ask guidance from your utility. You shouldn’t be the only one asking this question.

  113. Tom Atwood says:

    Seven Months to get this answer!!!

    Dear Mr. Atwood:

    Thank you for contacting Governor Charlie Crist. The Governor appreciates your thoughts regarding the Solar Energy System Incentives Program and asked that the Governor’s Energy Office respond.

    Recently, Governor Crist recommended that $10 million be appropriated to the Solar Energy System Incentives Program, in his proposal for Florida’s budget for 2010-2011 fiscal year. Solar energy will play a critical role in the State’s increasingly diverse energy portfolio and Governor Crist remains committed to growing Florida’s market for renewable energy.

    By way of background, the Solar Rebate Program is very popular and successful. Due to the large volume of rebate applications, the state has exhausted the available funding. Solar energy system rebates are issued by the Commission pursuant to Sections 377-801-377.806, Florida Statutes, and Chapter 27N-1, Florida Administrative Code, contingent upon an annual appropriation by the Legislature of the State of Florida for the specific purpose of funding solar rebates. The Commission, in accordance with direction from the Governor and/or Legislature, shall be the final determiner of the availability of any funds. Rebates can only be issued if funding is available, and the requirements of Sections 377-801-377.806, Florida Statutes and Chapter 27N-1, Florida Administrative Code, are met. The Solar Energy Systems Incentives Program is slated to sunset in FY2010 (See, Section 377.806, Florida Statute). The State will continue to accept applications until June 30, 2010 and place them on a waiting list in the event that additional funding becomes available.

    Additionally as a concerned citizen, you have the opportunity to influence legislation by contacting your local legislative delegation. If you do not know who your senator or representative is, you can access that information at

    Thank you again for contacting Governor Crist. The people of Florida play an integral and vital role in achieving the state’s energy goals. For more information on Florida’s energy programs please visit


    Governor’s Energy Office
    From: Tom Atwood [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:46 AM
    To: Energy
    Subject: Solar Rebates
    Importance: High

    With all the new green incentives in place and the climate as it is in Florida which is perfect for Solar!.
    We have started a Solar Business,, Solar Independence LLC.

    We only use Master Electricians with years of experience and a wealth of information on installs.

    But we have ran into a snag with customers and all the publicity about the state being out of
    money to fund the rebate program for residential customers. Potential customers have become
    just that “Potential Customers” because they are worried that if they install a system they will
    never get the rebates.

    Should this be a concern and how do we approach this? Will the rebate program be funded for
    the future?

    Here is an excerpt from your page.

    Current Backlog of Processed Solar Rebate Applications, as of January 29, 2009: $7.3 million

    The State of Florida submitted an application for the SEP on May 12, 2009, to the U.S. Department of Energy.
    This application included an appropriation of $5 million for the Solar Rebate Program and has been approved.
    In addition, the State submitted an application on June 25, 2009 for the EECBG.
    This application included an appropriation of $9.4 million for the Solar Rebate Program.”

    If customers do install a system and present an application before the end date of the program will they
    get their rebate?

    We appreciate your time and effort for a response that we can give to our customer.

    Thank You,

    Solar Independence LLC
    Free Power For Your Future!

  114. Margaret says:

    I am wanting to install solar power to my private home. I’ve been told that there are so many grants out there. Where are they?

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Hey, Margaret,

      There is a Federal 30% tax credit available. In Florida, there are also rebates, but these run out of funding… and then get refunded. You need to check with a local installer whether there is funding again. You can also check this website, as they keep track of it more consistently than we do. Don’t know about any grants, but if there are any, that same website will tell you about it.

      Hope that helps.

  115. Dale says:

    I am trying to determine the official Florida state regulations for net metering. Most of our customers are located in the Central Florida Electric COOP serving area. CFEC buys electricity from solar producers at their wholesale rates and sells to all customers at the higher retail rates. I have recently read that the state required ALL electric companies to buy and sell from PV Solar customers/producers at the same rate (effective in July, 2009.) Can you help me clear this up for our customers (including my own home)?

  116. Alan says:

    I have installed solar water system and a 4.8kw system here in Florida with the plans of the rebate from the state. Who would we get in contact to see when the money is approved?

  117. norm Grajek says:

    when will florida funds be available for solar residence use ! ????

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Norm, if we were political sages, we would be much more respected. Alas, we are simply solar geeks, and we cannot predict when the Florida legislator will gather its golden solar incentive eggs and lay them down for residents again. They are apparently focusing more on large scale utilities. Please yell at your legislator and governor. The greasy wheel…

      Sorry we can’t be more help.

  118. kim cox says:

    I have been trying to find our about my rebate for my solar water but am not able to find it…could you please send me the site

    1. Dave Llorens says:

      Kim, if it’s not here check it may be there, more clunky… but thorough

  119. Cristine says:

    I just checked the FL site. No rebate money is left as of today 1/25/10. Maybe I should put this on the backburner!! Really too bad!

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Cristine, you’re right. Thanks for the update. We hope the program will be refunded again either through a federal program or through Florida. Keep in mind that each utility may also offer a unique program as well, separate from the state. There are many solar hot water programs being offered from each utility. If you’ve got electric hot water, you’ll save huge. Check here or on this site to see if your utility has a solar or energy efficiency program for you.

      Thanks again for the update.

  120. Mike Mitchell says:

    What a great resource! Now I have a place to send a lot of my visitors who keep asking me the same questions about state and federal level incentive programs. As you can imagine, the question comes up quite a lot during tax season. Thanks for again!

  121. Vaughn says:

    My neighbor had a solar hot water system installed during the Carter administration and it still works! All of his hot water has been free for decades, thanks to the government’s help. We need to expand governments involvement in helping cut costs rather than making investing into Florida’s power companies more lucrative to the stockholder. Yea Federal government, boo Republican legislature and their lobbiest handlers.

  122. lindsey says:

    I am interested in solar energy. However even with the incentives it is still cost prohibitive for me. Are there good web sights that inform one on how to build and enstall there own systems?

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:


      Honestly, these DIY (Do It Yourself) kits that you see on the Internet for a couple of hundred bucks are not worth the time and money. Plus, there’s a lot of electrical code problems and they look like Frankenstien on your roof, you don’t qualify for any rebates, it’ll take you a long time to find the material and to make them… I could go on about the challenges. Honestly, though it pains me to say this, I’d rather you wait until you can afford solar and not go solar than to waste your time and money on these solar/wind kits. Solar rebates will come down in Florida there may be some low income programs. Check with your utility.

  123. Pat says:

    As of Nov 9th, there is now only $12,464.50 left and they’re still only in June applications.

    They’re essentially burning through $600,000 a week or $2.5 million a month.

  124. Eric says:

    As of Oct. 30th there is only $640,252.50 left in Florida’s Solar Rebate Program for FY 09-10
    Here is the link to verify:

  125. Steve Dale says:

    Great Information, you guys rock! Thanks for the updated information. I posted your State by State Solar Report here:
    If any of you three guys want to be moderators under our “Renewable Energy Category” please email us we are always looking for informed individuals to get the word out about renewable energy.

    1. Dan Hahn says:

      Thanks for spreading the love Steve!

  126. CB says:

    You Do Not calculate the 30% FTC after you minus the Rebate. Case in point. Our company was the first to install a commercial customer who just received their FTC from the (DOE) Dept. of Energy for 30% of the total price. The cost of the 25kW PV Solar System was $167,500. The check was sent 2 and 1/2 months after the DOE application was received on September 21, 2009, for the exact amount of $50,250.00 . (Which is 30% of the contract price.) Do you honestly believe the Depart of Treasury issued a check on behalf of the DOE, for the wrong amount?

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:


      You’re absolutely right…for commercial installations. For residents, that formula is not so clear, and guidance we’ve given for residential installs (which are the majority of our readers) is that the 30% is deducted after any state rebate. This comes from the American Solar Energy Society (ASES).

      Also, residents are NOT eligible for a tax grant (cash!), which is what your company received. Residents are only eligible for a tax CREDIT, which they can use like cash towards paying whatever they owe the IRS on April 15th. Now, let me hedge a little here, because the actual tax form that gives all official rules for applying that tax credit for residence has not been been written, but again, this is our understanding from the ASES advice. The good news is the IRS will eventually be clearing this up and people will know one way or another. If you do get to take it off the top, tax dudes that I’ve talked to say then it’s going to be INCOME, which is taxable, and then it kind of works out to to the be the same amount.

      But for simplicity’s sake, residents should take the 30% after any rebates. Commercial people, you lucky solar people, can take it off the top, but it may be taxed as income.

  127. Brad says:

    Hi there! Thank you so much for this. As an employee of Brite Sky Solar in Jacksonville, we appreciate all you do in spreading the word on solar. One question though. In your example you show the ‘tax credits’ as being multiplied off the ‘after rebate’ price of 15k. My understanding is that the Federal Tax credit of 30% is on the amount paid, before rebates. From

    If this is not true, please let me know as I want to make sure our customers receive the most accurate answers to their FAQ!

    Thanks again :)

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Brad, there is a document linked to that link your comment. It’s this FAQ from the solar energy society.

      In that document, it states–for home owners–

      A rebate received by a homeowner in a residential context usually does not have to be reported as
      income when the rebate is received from the local utility. A homeowner who does not report the
      rebate as income takes a “tax basis” in solar equipment equal to the net amount he paid. In other
      words, if the solar equipment has a gross cost of $20,000, but a rebate from the local utility pays
      $2,000, then his tax basis in the equipment for purposes of calculating the residential tax credit is

      This is what we’re going by. HOWEVER, we are not tax people and there may be other interpretations with the law. That said, most of the solar software estimation calculators that I work with….agree with the above for home owners. Commercial/businesses, I believe you are right …or can be right, depending on the advice of your tax dude/attorney. :)

  128. RH says:

    Fossil Fuels will only increase in price. 10 years from now you will be kicking yourself for not installing PV / solar water heaters. Have vision, nothing in life is free.

  129. Amy says:

    Love all the info here. I want to get a good idea about what a solar hot water system should cost, installed. We have about 1,200 sq ft, 3 adults, and want a system that is self-sufficient. That is, with PV to run the pump and electric for backup only.

    1. Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Hey, Amy.

      Solar Hot water’s great!…from what we’ve heard! Right now, we’re trying just to keep up with all of the solar PV/electricity technology and financing and rebates. But of these days, we hope to get to hot water too. :)

  130. Steve Louis says:

    Net-Metering has got to be in place for wide residential and commercial use, and to keep power companies honest. The German system that makes it financially advantageous to invest now rather than later by using a declining rate of return year by year should also get potential alternative energy customers off the fence and into the game. Investors like to have a baseline rate of return and guaranteed buyback rates and fixed installation costs get that done.

  131. Giselle says:

    Is there a reputable, knowledgeable installer in the Miami-Dade county area that I could contact?

  132. MIKE says:

    I just think a more appropriate stimulus package would have been once that concentrated on renewable energy. Creation of jobs, protection of our environment and get the economy going again. Instead of giving billions to financial institutions we should have given every household a PV system free of charge.

  133. Lisa says:

    State of Florida rebate should not be considered taxable income, per DEP. See

    Note that this is an old document and that the comment that the Federal tax credit would be reduced by the FL rebate is no longer valid. This was repealed in the Feb. 2009 Recovery Act legislation.

  134. JDub says:

    Can you give updated cost benifit analysis? These numbers apear to be at least 2 years old.

  135. Bob says:

    Are the state rebates for solar power generation treated as taxable income? If so, this seems to be overlooked on most webpages devoted to solar incentives. Can anyone give me an authoritative answer? I learned this at:

  136. Ron says:

    I am a x-fossil fuel project manager and sales rep. I am seeking manufacturing principals to represent in FL and GA.

    Thanks, Ron
    Southeast Energy Services, LLC

  137. Charles Hinricksen says:

    Solar does rock, I have played with solar for several years and have now powered my entire outside with soft mood lighting plus run 1500 gallons of water thru 3 turtle ponds 24-7. I am really thinking of giving up my job of over 20 years to work in solar but do not really know were to start. any hints would be a great help

  138. Dale says:

    i think that pv panels are the way to go, but the expense is still to large. but i have been working on cutting my electric bill to its bare minimum. At the moment i have it down to 46.00 dollars for the month. between a timer on my hot water heater, and not using my A/C. Thank God for a great breeze. People look at cutting your usage and then re figure your needs in a system. plus look into having a spray foam roof installed. r7 per inch on your roof means that your attic won’t heat up. Just an idea… Thxs

  139. Uwe says:

    Hello over there.I live in germany and was looking for some infos about what is going on now with alternative energy in the us.
    I and alot of people here own a solarwater heating system here and it works good.My system is just for the hot water storage but lot of people have it combined with the heating system.
    Last dec i decided to invest in a solar energy system.That works too but we get a high support from the energy supplier.
    the energy suppliers are forced by law to buy your solar energy for 0.48 cents per kw for systems set up in 2008.2009 is it 0.43 cent now.To compare for the energy i take from the grid i pay around 18 cent.
    If i would live in florida i would definately check if i my roof would be a good location for a system.But heat is not good for modules because with rising heat the power production lowers.
    If anybody is looking in further info feel free to mail me.:[email protected]

  140. Sharon says:

    I want to be in the manufacturing process. Live in Florida. What kind of education do I need to land a job in Alternative Energy which I am wanting to do a career change to?

  141. tom koether says:

    nice presentation, seeking full system in stages or on one shot

  142. Bob says:

    I am using propane to heat water and to heat a pool spa. I am investigating replacing propane with solar for either or both applications. House is new (2008) and super insulated. Large south facing roof area (20×50. Should I look at all photovolactic or hybrid using water filled panels?

  143. Dan Hahn says:


    For sure, the Fed rebate is now 30% with no cap. The cap was removed at the end of 2008. I’m not sure about timing on the Florida state rebate. We’ll try to dig something up for you in the next week.


    – Dan

  144. Kel says:

    I’m so close to putting a 3.12 kW system on my home in South Fl but I’m worried about the rebate from the state and the Fed incentive. Two questions:
    1-Does anyone know if they are going to replenish the State Rebate money?
    2-Is the Fed rebate 30% with no cap, or is $2000?
    Both of these will factor in on my decsion. I’m looking at either $10,000 or $22,000 depending on the rebates!!!! BIG DIFFERENCE.

  145. David says:

    Taxing a commodity to force consumers to another product?, a little regressive thinking for a progressive business owner. I want the gov’t to tax all of my competition too.

  146. Vito Buonomano III says:

    Energy Reality in RI:
    I have recently started a solar company in RI ( and I am shocked at the lack of action of people in the North East when it comes to energy conservation. There are still many thousands of homes and business in the North East that have not taken advantage of low cost quick pay back energy efficiency improvements. When you add them all up they have a far greater impact on our environment, local econemy and road to energy independence than alternative energy. Some of us that have lived through the energy conservation years of the 70’s and early 80’s have made the necessary efficiency improvements to our homes and businesses and are ready for alternative energy. We in the Northeast seem to only react when energy prices reaches deep into our pocket. The new President should ASAP consider taxing oil to keep the energy conservation and the alternative energy ball rolling.

  147. Jim says:

    If they want to save POWER than where are the 25 watt electric bulbs, I can’t find them. Remember that they save and you PAY !!


  148. Robert says:

    Hey Beth, that’s why California is bankrupt and Florida isn’t. When the government gets involved in free enterprise, it wrecks the industries. Just look at the auto industry that was forced to finance all the development of all the hybrid cars that no one wants.

  149. Matthew says:

    What an absolute great way to start and continue the enviroment! The solar water heaters are extremely benefitial financially and enviromentally. I have recently joined a company that speciallizes in solar water heaters as well as panels to heat pools during the cooler months….much more interested in the water heaters. I’m in the central Florida area, if anyone would like some feedback or information e-mail me @ [email protected]

  150. sunshngurl says:

    I’m embarrassed that my state of Florida does not have a more progressive solar program. There should be a solar panel on every roof in the state. Why is this so difficult??? When logic fails, follow the money trail…..

  151. Ben says:

    The federal incentive is now 1/3 the cost with no cap.

  152. Beth says:

    There is a program in California to help senior citizens on fixed incomes install solar in their homes. There is an urgent, urgent need for this in Florida now. Progress Energy has been granted, by the Republican appointed PSC, a huge rate increase. Think about summer in Florida without air conditioning. Think about 95 degrees and the humidity of summer for seniors and those with heart and other health problems not being able to run the air conditioning. This is a health emergency in the making and the governor and legislator don’t give a damn.

  153. sister plop says:

    hi people

  154. karin says:

    I have heard about plans to build your own solar panels at a reduced cost. What are the caveats for that? Thanks.

  155. lin says:

    From the FPL web site
    The solar rebate program is very popular and successful. Due to the large volume of rebate applications received the budget approved for FY2008-2009,$5 million, was exhausted. When all of the funding was exhausted for FY2007-2008, the state continued to accept applications, placing the applicants on a waiting list. This list of approved applications has now reached the $5 million mark and will absorb all of the FY2008-2009 funding upon appropriation. The solar rebate checks will begin to be delivered in mid-July.

  156. Susan says:

    In the State of Florida I would think it would be more beneficial if we could run the air conditioners instead of just the water heaters. It should be made more cost effective to the average home owner and for once consider the people not the “profit margin”

  157. Fixizin says:

    Pretty LAME when the gov’t of a State (FL) with a whopping population of 19,000,000(!), and so much solar exposure, allocates a measly $5MIL for incentives! Of course it’s already gone, since that’ only 250 homes @ $20K each! And every participating business is eligible for up to $100K, which comes from the same pool, and knocks 5 homes out of contention.

    Am I the only one who smells the stench of UTILITY LOBBYIST opposition all over this? GRRRrrr…

  158. Dan Hahn says:

    Regarding Mary’s question about the comparison between tankless and solar water heaters, I did a little searching. A lot of people ask about them as an alternative.

    Tom Lane, author of Solar Hot Water Systems says: “Tankless water heaters do save space, but not much energy. Numerous tests by independent third parties, have shown only 10% savings versus conventional electric water heaters and 15% to 20% savings versus energy efficient conventional gas water heaters over a 24 hour period. Most manufacturers of these expensive water heater systems exaggerate the savings. Daily savings quotes of 25% or higher versus modern electric or gas water heaters are simply not true. In 2004, hot water manufacturers were required to add additional insulation to all water heaters, making instantaneous water heater savings more insignificant. Tankless water heaters have serious problems with scaling in hard water areas.”

    1. Robert says:

      Reading this in 2013- !
      Good point- but another angle- is the ability to put small ones- at point of use-
      A central- water heaters can be on one side of the house- and when the hot water tap is turned on – at the far side of the house- the tap has to run for sometime until the hot water reaches the tap (or shower)- Not only a waste of water- but- the pipes are then full of unused hot water when the tap is turned off. This results in a lot of heat loss- each time the shower or tap is used. d not take this into account.
      A horrible solution offered by contractors- is to have circulating pumps – hooked to the hot water heater- so hot water is circulating all the time – from tap to heater and back! Saves water- but wow what an energy – loss if the pipes are not insulated
      I am going- for solar water heaters- but won’t solve the long pipe run problem.

  159. Cirag says:

    I really want to do this (I live in sunny Fort Lauderdale), but the state rebate of $20,000 has been exhausted, and it doesn’t look to be renewed. Take away the $20,000 and it’s pretty tough to make the business case for equipping a PV system. Depressing! I would love to hear other thoughts on this.

  160. DOUG B says:


  161. charles longieliere says:

    how can i find the status of my rebate for solar water heater

  162. Joseph LaRocca says:

    i would like to know if the power that be.Have thought of any type of incentive. That would give a real incentiv for the Sr.population. They could realy use the savings it would give but it would take to long to realize the help. We have the need. the place and the give it a try we could be the test group to show how well it works. And the time to record the the way it works. I would be glad to be a test paintent.

  163. Mary Guler says:

    I’d be interested in knowing the cost benefit comparison of solar hot water to tankless hot water, which is also reported to generate great savings.

  164. jim c says:

    I would break even to cut the power company out. They are at an endless increase….

  165. Colin says:

    Put in a solar water heater first – it saves about a third of your electrical usage, whets your appetite for PV, lowers the amout of PV you need, and almost half is covered with rebates.

  166. Colin says:

    An investment in PV can be an expensive proposition. To completely power a 42KWH / day electrical habit (my house) you require a 6KW system and a generous 7 hours of sunshine (bank on 6 at best). At $9 / watt installed – $54K (minus $2K fed, $18K state) that still leaves $34K to finance. A better idea is to tackle the hungriest appliance first – the water heater. This device uses up to a third of electrical usage – 14KWH / day in my case. A solar water heater cost me $3900 installed – I should get back $500 state incentive and $1170 FED (30%) – leaving $2230 to recoup. At 10 cents a KWH thats $42 / mth savings – or 5 years ROI give or take. Heated water is kept hot in a tank – so the benefits span cloudy days – and water is hot at night. Solar water heating generates further benefits – the home user sees the savings – and can see the light at the end of the ROI tunnel, the leap to PV may make more sense. Also, the 42KWH / per day appetite is now 28KWH – a 3KW system along with the conservative nature that comes with PV ownership will just about delete an electric bill. Also, you do something now – a year of the sun heating your water may see lower $/watt install prices, bigger incentives, etc.

    1. D. Bartley says:

      Solar panels are now selling for $1 per watt (Canadian Solar ex. $300/300 watt panel), installation adds another dollar and inverters add another.

      I just received a quote in Ft Myers for $2.79/watt net system installed.

      The $9/watt price hasn’t been around since 2008. Florida Gulf Coast University paid $8.50/watt for 2 mega watts that year. The price has plummeted since then.

      I suspect your post is at the behest of FP&L since they are shaking in their shoes that their grip on the necks of consumers is slipping. Their business model as the majority supplier of our electricity no longer makes sense.

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