Florida’s Solar Energy Rebate Program

Florida’s solar energy rebate program is a 20% cash rebate on all solar equipment purchased between June 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. The state of Florida passed legislation in March 2020 to exempt solar equipment (including solar panels, solar water heaters, and solar trackers) and other associated costs (including permits and contractors’ fees) from property taxes, saving homeowners up to $15,000 in combined property tax and rebate savings. This is in addition to the $6,600 in Federal tax rebates which will be received by individuals and businesses who purchase solar equipment. The Federal Income Tax Act of 2020 (P.L. No. 114–190) specifies that all taxable income from sources within, and earnings from sources outside of, the United States are eligible for this income tax rebate.

This article will discuss the details of the Florida solar energy rebate program. You will learn about the types of solar equipment that qualify for the rebate, how to calculate your rebate, and how to qualify for the maximum possible rebate of $15,000.

Types Of Solar Equipment

The Act specifies that the rebate is available on “solar equipment” as defined by the IRS. This includes solar panels, solar water heaters, and solar trackers. The rebate is not available on items such as solar hot-tubs or pool heaters. The Act also does not include generators, batteries, or electronic readers as eligible items.

Many installers will provide a quote for a comprehensive energy audit which includes all of the above and can be used to determine your approximate rebate amount. Be sure to ask about any additional charges such as labor fees or permits which may apply. These are all considered separate items and will result in a higher total cost.

What About Equipment Already In Place?

If you already have solar equipment in place at your home or business, you will need to file an extension to ensure you file your rebate by the deadline. The Act requires that all applications for the rebate be filed by April 30, 2021. This means that all solar equipment purchased after March 31, 2021 will be subject to the higher sales tax percentage.

The deadline for the extension is December 31, 2021. Be sure to contact the IRS with any questions regarding the solar energy rebate program. Visit the IRS website for additional information here.

How Do I Calculate My Rebate?

The Act specifies that the rebate will be figured on the price paid for qualifying solar equipment minus any sales tax paid. Thus, you must first look up the price of the equipment in your area. You can use an online price search tool to find equipment prices by entering your ZIP code and selecting the appropriate product. This will provide you with the approximate cost of installing the system.

The Act also specifies that there will be a 20% cash rebate on all solar equipment purchased between June 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Thus, you must first determine your total cost of purchasing the equipment. This will involve adding up all of the costs associated with the system, including the price of all solar equipment, building permits, and inspections. This is the total cost which you will need to subtract from your total purchase price in order to arrive at your net cost. 

The Act provides for an additional 10% cash rebate, if your system produces more energy than you use. To qualify for the additional rebate, you must install a solar energy storage system with a capacity of at least 2 kWh. This system will allow you to store energy which is generated during the day when prices are highest and use it during the night or days when the sun isn’t shining. Storage systems which are capable of storing more than 2 kWh will result in an even larger rebate. For more information about this program, visit the IRS website here or click here.

Eligibility For The Florida Solar Energy Rebate Program

The Act specifies that the Florida solar energy rebate program is open to “residential and commercial solar energy systems located in the state of Florida.” This means that homeowners, businesses (including multi-family dwellings), and government entities (including schools and universities) are all eligible to receive the rebate. Individual taxpayers (IRS link) are also eligible for the rebate if they purchase solar equipment and have an active annual income. Active annual income is defined as income which is derived from wages, farming, fishing, or sales of goods.

An individual or business which purchases solar equipment and files for the rebate within the first year will receive a 20% cash rebate on all solar equipment purchased. This will be increased to 30% for any person or business who files for the rebate within the first three years. The Act also allows for a 100% federal income tax credit on all solar equipment purchased and installed in 2021.

This credit will be available regardless of whether or not you file for the rebate. However, the credit will be phased out for individuals and businesses who have an income over $150,000 and whose taxable income is $75,000 or more. Thus, those who purchase expensive equipment and choose to not file for the rebate may still be able to claim the credit in full.

An eligible individual or business which has an income of over $150,000 will also see a 10% cash rebate on all solar equipment added in the last year of the agreement.

How Much Can I Claim?

The Act allows for a maximum cash rebate of $15,000 on all solar equipment purchased between June 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Thus, you must first determine the total cost of your system which is considered qualified solar equipment. This amount will be your net cost. You can then subtract 20% (the rebate) from this amount to obtain your approximate rebate value. If you have additional costs (insurance, permits, and engineering fees) which you must add back into your net cost, you can increase your rebate value by that amount.

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