Let’s get real, understanding solar legislature is like understanding a foreign language without any help. The legal mumbo-jumbo often gets garbled in our brains and oftentimes leaves us more confused than before we started our solar journey.
However, it is crucial to have an understanding of the policies and politics behind Florida residents’ access and control over alternative sources of energy. Solcium Solar loves breaking down the complex issues of the renewable energy sector in ways that are easily digestible for our customers or for those inquiring minds.
Today, we’re going to dive into the world of politics and policies as they relate to solar in the Sunshine State.
The Inflation Reduction Act
First, let’s briefly revisit The Inflation Reduction Act. A previous blog of ours, New US Climate Bill Electrifies Savings Through Solar, goes into depth on this topic, but we’ll break it down a bit for the newbies. The Inflation Reduction Act sets in motion the current Administration’s illuminated goals of reduction of carbon emissions by 40% by the end of the decade and lends further support to consumers who wish to switch to green energy, making this bill the largest investment by the Federal government in addressing climate change. Under this bill, qualified homeowners and business owners can deduct 30% of the solar project and battery solutions cost on their annual taxes for all projects installed prior to December 31, 2023. The Inflation Reduction Act also passes the slow lane to offer qualified buyers with $7,500 in tax credits for consumers who trade their gas-guzzler for a new electric vehicle and $4,000 for a used EV.
Florida’s Property Tax Abatement for Renewable Energy
Now that we understand the Federal tax incentive, let’s explore Florida’s property tax abatement for renewable energy. Thanks to the state’s property tax incentive, homeowners who go solar will have a 100% property tax exemption on the increase in home’s value. Business owners are granted an 80% abatement for non-residential installs. Florida Statute 196.182 offers taxation exemption on any assessments that include systems installed after January 1, 2018. This exemption is set to expire on December 31, 2037.
Solar Legislature and Your Homeowner’s Association
Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of Florida Solar. Many residents are not aware of Florida Statute 163.04. We hear it all the time – I want solar but my HOA will not allow it. Well, we’re excited to tell you that homeowners who choose to incorporate renewable energy sources on their properties are in fact protected by Florida State Statute. Solcium Solar is experienced in navigating HOA Board Meetings, Certifications and Approvals on behalf of our customers. The statute states that no homeowner shall be denied approval to install solar systems or other energy collection devices by ANY entity granted power by deed restriction or similar dwelling covenants, aka homeowner associations or historic preservation boards.
Florida Public Service Commission
Next, let’s familiarize ourselves with how the utility companies in Florida are regulated: introducing the Florida Public Service Commission. Created in 1887, the Florida Public Service Commission was introduced by the Florida Legislature as the Florida Railroad Commission, whose purpose was to oversee the regulation of railroad service, rates and operations. After being abolished (1891) and re-established (1897), the Commission earned new responsibilities over new industries that included: Telephone (1911), Motor Carrier Transport (1929), Investor-owned Electrics – aka, the Duke Energy and FPLs of Florida (1951), Natural Gas (1952), Water and WasteWater (1959) and Airline Services (1972). It wasn’t until 1986 that the Florida Public Service Commission (FPCS) was granted presiding authority over the electric utility companies.
The FPCS is granted the authority to regulate utility services throughout the State of Florida, set rates and ensure ample service to the public. It outlines your rights and responsibilities as a consumer and offers an outlet for consumer complaints. Additionally, the Commission ensures that providers fulfill their obligations and maintain competitive exchange. According to the Commission’s webpage, the Commission is appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate as a five-member board. When a utility company wants to increase its rates, this group of five individuals are the gatekeepers, lending approval or denial of the request. Get to know who decides your monthly bills here.
Net Metering in Florida
One of the most important state policies that supports the solar industry is Florida’s Net Metering law, which is overseen by the FPCS. This law regulates the rate at which solar consumers sell their production back to their service provider in the form of energy credits. Florida Senate Bill 741 standardizes how excess solar produced energy is returned to the grid and absorbed by utility companies for up to twelve months. This bill saw some turbulence when utility companies lobbied against it and it reached the Senate floor to be abolished, potentially terminating the future of solar in Florida. In May of 2022, Governor DeSantis vetoed the bill, continuing support of the net metering legislation until January 2029 and signifying the growth of renewable energy in the State of Florida.
For more information about Florida’s solar industry, commissions and policies, check out the state’s profile on Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), an organization that Solcium Solar is a proud member of.
To learn more about how you can be a part of Florida’s future in renewable energy or how you can save with a solar system from Solcium Solar, contact us today. We’d love to lend more education on the empowering world of solar energy!