Quantcast
EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Manchester City Football Club is trialing edible coffee cups. BioBite

By Victoria Masterson

  • English soccer club Manchester City is trialing an edible coffee cup made from leak-proof wafer.
  • Another English team, Forest Green Rovers, has tried sustainable shirts made from recycled coffee beans and plastic bottles on for size.
  • FIFA is aiming for Qatar 2022 to be the first carbon-neutral World Cup.

The pitches may be green – but how sustainable is soccer?

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A female condor above the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

One environmental downside to wind turbines is their impact on birds.

Read More Show Less
2022 Florida Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & Rebates

See how you can save money on solar panels in Florida.

Reviews
Pitsanu Prom-or / iStock / Getty Images

Florida is well-known as the Sunshine State because of its year-round sunny weather that draws millions of tourists each year, but historically, Florida hasn't actually been a national leader when it comes to solar energy generation. That said, financial incentives like Florida solar tax credit and rebate opportunities have played a huge part in its rise to become one of the top states for solar energy.

To the glee of clean energy advocates across the state, various Florida solar incentives have succeeded in bringing solar power throughout the state. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2020, Florida ranked third in the nation for solar energy capacity, and it had the second-most installations during the second quarter of 2021.

This progress in the solar field comes from many different sources, not the least of which is Florida solar incentives. For any homes or businesses feeling left behind while the rest of the state goes solar, these types of solar tax credits are still widely available across Florida, which will be discussed in this article.

For most homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. To see how much you'd pay for a home solar system (and how much you can shave off that price with Florida solar tax credit and incentive opportunities), you can get a free quote from a top solar company near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Florida Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates

As much as transitioning to clean energy is the best thing for the environment and the fight against climate change, the reality has always been that such changes would be slow to happen (if they happened at all) unless they made sense financially. When solar energy systems are proven to save money for those who pay the high upfront costs to install them, those purchases are better considered a worthy investment.

As such, some of the most effective policies encouraging solar installations have been those making the decision a no-brainer from the budgetary perspective. Let's take a look at some of the top Florida solar incentives.

Florida Solar Incentive Program Overview
Florida Net Metering Programs Credits homeowners when their solar panels produce extra electricity and it is exported to the local power grid
Florida Tax Exemptions Property tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for solar and other renewable energy equipment
Local Incentives Incentives, rebates and low-interest financing programs at the town, city, and county level that encourage local solar installations

Florida Net Metering Programs

Regardless of the state, one of the most critical types of energy policy for solar panels is known as net metering. Through net metering, homeowners can feed excess electricity produced by their solar panels into the power grid in exchange for utility credits. These credits can be used to pay for the energy a home uses when panels aren't producing (such as at night).

Net metering tends to be a state-by-state policy, as there is no federal policy regarding net metering. Florida is one of the states where there is, in fact, a statewide net metering program, applicable for homeowners regardless of which utility serves their area.

The specific net metering provision covers up to 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity for any customers who generate electricity with a renewable energy source. Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have the largest net metering programs in the state.

The availability of such net metering serves as an incentive for Floridians to install solar panels on their property. Not only do they benefit by reducing their power bills from pulling energy from the grid less often, but they can even profit when the utility pays them for generating more power than they consume, bringing their solar payback period down.

Florida Solar Tax Exemptions

Another financial mechanism that the Florida state government offers to solar system owners is solar tax exemptions. To start, Florida doesn't want to make the upfront cost to purchase and install solar equipment to be any higher than the open market says it should be, so since 1997, all solar energy systems have been completely exempt from Florida's sales and use tax.

Once a solar photovoltaic system is purchased and installed, there is a statewide property tax abatement that further helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on it. Most home additions, such as a new shed or outdoor patio built in a home's backyard, would be appraised to determine the value it added to the property and thus increase the overall property tax. However, the added home value of solar panels is excluded from the property's taxable value.

Local Incentives

Florida is also a large, diverse state, so in addition to the state solar incentives, many local jurisdictions enact their own policies to encourage and support installation of solar energy systems. At the town, city or county level, Floridians will commonly find low-interesting solar financing options, specific solar incentives or rebates, and more.

You can determine whether your locality offers such incentives by investigating your local government websites or talking to utility company representatives. When you do, you may come across such successful programs as Jacksonville's $2,000 rebate for solar battery installations, Boynton Beach's Energy Edge Rebate Program, or the Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program offered by Dunedin.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Floridians, of course, can also benefit from all the tax incentives, rebates and credits that are offered at the federal level. Over the past two decades, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has attributed largely to the rapid growth in solar energy across business sectors, geographies and customer types.

For systems installed and operational before the end of 2022, the federal solar tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the installation, dropping to 22% for systems installed in 2023. It is currently set to expire afterward, though the idea of extending the ITC beyond its current expiration date, as has been done in the past, has been a part of active clean energy policy debates.

FAQ: Florida Solar Incentives

Does Florida have a solar tax credit?

State-wide, there is no specific Florida solar tax credit. However, all utilities in the state of Florida do offer customers the ability to utilize net metering, Florida solar homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and some local jurisdictions in Florida may offer their own tax credits.

Is solar tax exempt in Florida?

In Florida, the purchase and installation of a home solar system is exempt from all sales tax, and the value of renewable systems are excluded from 100% of residential property taxes.

How much is the solar tax credit for 2022?

For any solar panel system installed before the end of 2022, the federal solar investment tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the system.

Is Florida a good state for solar?

Florida is a great state for solar from the perspective of having year-round sunny weather, higher-than-average solar irradiance and a policy landscape conducive to solar installations. Because of these factors, Florida ranked third among all states in terms of solar capacity installed in 2020 (rising to second when looking at the third quarter of 2021), per the SEIA.

How much do solar panels cost in Florida?

Based on market research and data from top solar companies, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $2.53 per watt. However, this is only an average, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live, the number of solar panels you need and more.

To get a free estimate for your own home solar system, you can get connected with a pre-screened local installer by using this tool or entering your home's information below.

Some conservatives are blaming wind turbines for Texas' power grid failure following a severe winter storm. Orjan F. Ellingvag / Corbis / Getty Images

While Texans suffer from freezing temperatures and extensive power outages, frozen wind turbines are being used as a ploy to spread skepticism on the reliability of renewable energy.

Read More Show Less
Trending
The plan involves selling leases off the coasts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Patrik Del Mestre / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Climate action groups and ocean defenders issued strong praise Monday after the Biden administration announced its intention to boost the nation's offshore wind capacity with a number of steps including preparing forfede leases in an area off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Read More Show Less
zstockphotos / iStock / Getty Images

Solar energy has been among the fastest-growing sources of power generation in the U.S. in recent years, catapulting from 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of generation in 2010 to over 90.1 billion kWh in 2020. While that's still just a small slice of the overall energy mix (2% of all U.S. electricity in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), the rate of growth is accelerating. The EIA forecasts that by 2022, solar capacity installations will outpace wind capacity installations for the first time on record after wind turbines had a huge head start.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn of 2020 led to equipment shortages and other hardships for the solar industry. However, forecasts show the industry is primed for a resurgence in 2021 and beyond. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, solar companies are ramping up installations at a record pace and experienced a 46% year-over-year increase compared with the first quarter of 2020.

As 2021 continues to look like a prime year for solar power in the United States, which states are leading the charge? We can look to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report® from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for some answers.

Top 10 States for Solar Energy

The Solar Market Insight Report included a ranking of the top states across the country based on the total amount of solar electric capacity installed and in operation as of the end of the first quarter of 2021. To put it into context, SEIA figures also include the equivalent number of homes that can be powered by that solar capacity in the individual state.

Here are the current leaders for solar power in the U.S.:

State Cumulative Solar Capacity (Megawatts) Equivalent Number of Homes Supplied by Solar Energy
California 31,873 8,548,370
Texas 9,311 1,082,407
North Carolina 7,132 859,707
Florida 7,074 842,897
Arizona 5,247 810,751
Nevada 3,904 672,707
New Jersey 3,653 586,709
Massachusetts 3,263 545,258
Georgia 3,069 359,160
New York 2,840 474,848

On this leaderboard, some states show up that would be expected — California has long been the solar king, and they don't call Florida the Sunshine State for nothing — while other states represent surprising emerging solar hotbeds. For example, you may be surprised to see some smaller, northeastern states like Massachusetts and New Jersey beating out the field. But these results go to show it's not just about land space and the natural sunshine; the policies and economics driving these installations are just as impactful.

2021 Top States for New Solar Installation

With the solar market really exploding in recent years, traditional solar stalwarts like Arizona and Nevada are being actively challenged by some emerging contenders.

Specifically looking at where solar installations were most active during the first quarter of 2021, the SEIA report finds the following were the top states for solar installations from January through March:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. Indiana
  5. Virginia

On top, Texas added 1,525 megawatts (MW) of capacity, which is equivalent to 45% of the capacity installed in the state during all of 2020 and represents 16% of the state's cumulative capacity to date. California added 563 MW of capacity, equivalent to 14% of the capacity installed in 2020 and 2% of the state's cumulative capacity. Florida added 525 MW of capacity, which is 19% of the capacity installed during 2020 and 7% of the state's total capacity.

Compare the above list with the top 5 states for solar installations for all of 2020:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. Virginia
  5. North Carolina

A few compelling trends become evident when looking at the above numbers. First, it's never too late to become a solar leader. While Florida is in the top five of cumulative capacity today, and given its sunny reputation that result may not seem surprising, the truth is that 47% of that capacity has been added since the beginning of 2020. In just over a years' time, Florida nearly doubled its total solar capacity.

Another important trend to recognize is that geography alone doesn't decide whether a state will be a solar leader. Mid-Atlantic states like Virginia and North Carolina or Midwestern states like Indiana wouldn't necessarily be the first most would guess as being solar powerhouses, but thanks to policies like North Carolina's generous Solar Property Tax Exemption, Virginia's allowance for net metering and Indiana's solar easement laws, residents of these states are enjoying solar power on their homes in record numbers.

Where Does Your State Rank for New Solar Installation?

So, are you living in a state that's leading the way on solar or one that has some ground to make up? Factors to consider when looking at why some states are making more progress than others will include the types of policies in place, the availability of rooftops on which solar can be installed, the appetite for new energy generation and even the state's seasonal solar irradiance.

Taking all of those factors into account, here's where each state stands in SEIA's recently published rankings:

Here's how each state's Q1 2021 ranking compares to how it ranked for total solar installations in 2020:

State Ranking
for Q1 2021
Solar Installations
Ranking
for Total 2020
Solar Installations
Texas
1 2
California 2 1
Florida 3 3
Indiana 4 32
Virginia 5 4
Michigan 6 27
Oregon 7 20
Iowa 8 22
Utah 9 10
New York 10 8
South Carolina 11 6
Massachusetts 12 12
North Carolina 13 5
Illinois 14 14
Maine 15 29
Arizona 16 9
New Jersey 17 11
Colorado 18 13
Maryland 19 26
Nevada 20 15
Minnesota 21 21
Connecticut 22 24
Ohio 23 18
Pennsylvania 24 17
Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories 25 33
New Mexico 26 16
Hawaii 27 28
Missouri 28 37
Rhode Island 29 25
Washington DC 30 42
Wisconsin 31 19
Washington 32 34
New Hampshire 33 39
Arkansas 34 23
Idaho 35 38
Oklahoma 36 40
Delaware 37 44
Georgia 38 7
Vermont 39 41
Kansas 40 35
Louisiana 41 30
Kentucky 42 46
Montana 43 45
Wyoming 44 36
West Virginia 45 48
Alaska 46 47
Mississippi 47 31
Nebraska 48 43
South Dakota 49 50
Tennessee 50 49
North Dakota 51 52
Alabama 52 51

Seeing some states jump up or down the list from one year to the next may seem drastic, but keep in mind that certain tax incentives expire, new policies come into play and other market forces affect local solar industries. That reality underscores the point that being a solar-leading state takes continued commitment, and doing so can happen at any point state leaders decide to truly embrace the solar industry.

The Future of Residential Solar

As the Solar Market Insight Report indicates, solar energy is a hot and growing market. To date, though, solar still only provides a fraction of the total energy generated in the U.S. While some customers, buildings and regions see much higher penetration of solar into their power mix on a micro level, there's much improvement still on the way, especially as dirtier energy sources like coal continue to retire.

The recent SEIA report shows that it's a constant push and pull as well, as residential solar installations in the second quarter of 2021 were down 8% from the fourth quarter of 2020 but up 11% from the first quarter of 2020. The fact remains, though, that residential solar had its largest first quarter on record and its second-largest quarter of all at the beginning of 2021. These results signal a growing solar market, especially in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas.

Additionally, customer appetite for residential solar is as strong as ever: 19% year-over-year growth is expected to get the residential market to a total of 3.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by the end of 2021, a sum that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. Indeed, the future remains bright for residential solar.

If you're interested in becoming one of the millions of Americans who have made the switch to solar panels, fill out the form below to get a free installation quote from a top solar company near you.

SDI Productions / E+ / Getty Images

Kids are the ones that will be inheriting the world from us. Getting them invested early in protecting the environment will ensure that their curiosity and interest will live on once they become adults.

Figuring out how to introduce the concept of renewable energy to kids can be tricky. The more significant challenge comes down to getting kids interested and excited versus putting them on the receiving end of another lecture.

It will take a bit of planning and creativity, but there are ways to get children interested in renewable energy even at a young age.

What to Explain

The concepts you plan on teaching children should be age-appropriate. An elementary schooler doesn't need to know the inner complexities of thermodynamics. Start small and slowly build into the topics you want to cover.

Start With Sustainability

Leaping straight into renewable energy is a quick way to lose a kid's interest. If you start throwing around terms they don't understand, they will quickly tune out. Depending on their age, you may even get an eye roll.

Sustainability means something can continue to exist for an indefinite amount of time. Gardening is an easy example to present to children for this concept. If a tomato is grown, that tomato contains seeds. Those seeds can be replanted, and the cycle will continue.

Once they understand the concept of sustainability, you can move on to the next step.

Continue With Energy Sustainability

Now that sustainability is a familiar concept, start leading them into how it applies to energy.

Most, if not all, children today know the basics of electricity as it applies to charging items they interact with, like tablets or even smartphones. Explaining to them that energy is where electricity comes from shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes.

If you want to continue the gardening analogy for continuity's sake, it's adaptable. Using energy sources like natural gas, fossil fuels, and oil, you will still get tomatoes. However, these tomatoes don't have seeds. Eventually, you won't even be able to grow tomatoes due to a lack of seeds.

Other ways of explaining it may be easier depending on the children. The key factor they need to learn is that the current energy sources are not sustainable.

End With the Types of Renewable Energy

There are five primary renewable energy types, but you don't want to introduce them all to kids in one go. Be sure to fully explore all of them so the kids can grasp how and why each one is an option.

The primary types of renewable energy to include in your discussion include:

  • Solar - solar energy is one of the most popular forms of renewable energy and one of the easiest to teach kids about. Turning the sun's rays into electricity is sure to catch their interest. Teach them about how solar panels capture the heat and light (even on cloudy days) and convert all of that into usable energy. You can even describe how astronauts in space rely on solar energy on the International Space Station.
  • Hydro - this is another easy renewable energy to explain. It's a rare child that hasn't interacted with a creek or river at some point. Explain that the constant movement of the water from the current can be converted into usable energy.
  • Wind - show a child a picture of those massive wind turbines and they're bound to be curious. The wind turns the blades of the fan, much like a pinwheel, which then creates energy that we can use. Really get them thinking about the world around them and how something as simple as the wind can be turned into energy. Some states that allow you to pick your energy provider, also allow you to pick renewable plans that include wind.
  • Geothermal - geothermal energy may require a bit of extra explanation if the children haven't learned about the earth's core and how hot it is. If they already know about that, then you can show them how pipes that go deep into the ground run steam from this heat up into plants that turn it into electricity.
  • Biomass - biomass renewable energy is as simple as burning a source of fuel, so most of this explanation will be what they set on fire and how do they get it. The fuel for these fires comes from byproducts of plants and animals. Manure, crops, and other waste can all apply here.

How to Explain It

Stanislaw Pytel / Stone / Getty Images

Now that you know the basics, it's time to pass that on to the kids. The big question is, how are you supposed to make all of this sound cool enough to get the kids interested in renewable energy?

Online Resources

Kids tend to be more into visual learning, so just telling them about these concepts isn't going to make anything stick.

There are a plethora of options online that can help teach children about renewable energy. Educational games are a great pick to get them interacting with the information, but YouTube videos or simple animations can do the trick as well.

You can use these resources to help kids understand the big picture. Or, you can find videos and games revolving around specific steps like how exactly river currents can provide energy or why fossil fuels aren't sustainable.

DIY Projects

This is one of the best options you can choose to teach kids about renewable energy. Helping them create a science project to test out an aspect of renewable energy will be sure to hold their interest. A hands-on approach always helps with getting the information to stick.

Try these projects for an immersive adventure in alternative energy:

  • Build a mini water wheel - the water wheel has been used throughout history, and having kids build their own is a great way to teach how hydropower is created. It can be as simple or as complex as you want, but used popsicle sticks can be turned into a wheel in a pinch. Having a nearby creek or river will be the most immersive way to test this project, but using the water in your sink will get the job done.
  • Purify water - this is an effortless multi-day project to set up and will help you explain how versatile the heat from solar energy is. All you need is two containers (one smaller than the other), some water, food coloring, plastic wrap, and a rock. Long story short, the sun's heat will cause condensation and create a container of purified water. Bonus points if you can show the same results with your stove to show that the energy used naturally is more sustainable.
  • Build a wind turbine - while you won't be able to make it as large as actual wind turbines, this is still a sure way to show how efficient it is to harness the wind's power. The items you use to build this can vary greatly but cut-up plastic water bottles tend to make solid fan blades. Once you and the kids have created the wind turbine just take it outside and watch the wind spin it around! A pinwheel works if you'd just rather explain with an example, but the act of building the wind turbine will work wonders.
  • Cook using a campfire - this may sound more like a leisurely activity than a science experiment, but that was before you told the kids about using biomass for renewable energy. Unless you have casual access to manure, the fuel can just be dead branches and leaves you might find lying around. As you use the fire's heat to cook (something that requires electricity with the stove) you can show that the fuel to provide the heat came from dead plants that will eventually regrow the lost leaves and branches used. However, be sure to point out the smoke caused by the fire and how any fuel source that creates too much of that can be harmful to people and the planet.

Take a Field Trip

Field trips don't just have to be school-organized. See if you can find a day to take your child (or students) to a nearby renewable energy plant. Many of these locations are willing to give tours or educate interested people about what they do there.

This is also an excellent way to get free knowledge directly from the experts. They can answer any questions your kids may have that you would need some extensive researching to answer. It's also engaging for the children to directly see the process that they've been learning about.

Show the Impact of Non-Renewable Energy

This is far more effective when the children in question love animals and nature, but it can be useful regardless. Showing them videos of how things like pollution and global warming negatively impact nature can inspire them to start learning about renewable energy to help prevent it.

Be a Role Model

Kids do quite a bit of learning just from observing what the adults in their lives do. How you utilize energy in your day-to-day life can greatly help or hinder the learning process for the kids around you.

It's not an option for everyone, but many people are beginning to have solar panels installed on the roof of their house. Explaining to kids that their phones charge by way of the power of the sun is sure to get them interested in the overall process.

One way anyone can be a role model is to conserve energy where they can. Once your children know that most energy comes from non-renewable sources, they will realize why you always want lights off when not in use or when you try to keep your energy bills low (besides money).

How to Keep Them Interested

JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Now that you have the children interested in renewable energy, you'll have to make sure that interest continues to grow as time goes on. Unless they completely fell in love with the concept, they may start to forget important information if you don't keep them engaged.

Have a Weekly Theme

This has the dual purpose of keeping children interested and getting them to look forward to learning.

Give each week a theme that you can base activities and games around. Wind Week could involve some time at the park messing around with kites, or Hydro Week could be learning new aspects of hydroelectricity like how the tides can be used as well.

Home Improvement Projects

You shouldn't trust a group of young ones to go and install solar panels on the roof, but there are smaller projects around the house or classroom that you can do with them so that they feel they are directly contributing to using clean energy.

These projects don't even have to be big ones. It could be as simple as swapping out your current light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones. The key is to make children feel involved in the process and let them know exactly how these projects are helping.

Make Games

One of the best ways to get children interested in anything is to make a game of it.

Whether it's at home or in the classroom, a game will get them involved in an activity that could continue to teach them about renewable energy. It could be as simple as a made-up card game or as complex as setting up stations around the yard and have them decide which energy would work best at each station.

Some kids also enjoy incentives, so don't be afraid to offer some sort of prize or reward if they do well in the games.

Keep Your Kids Invested in Clean Energy

It can be a challenge teaching complex concepts to kids, especially if you want them to take an interest in it. Start by breaking down the basic concepts so that you can have good conversations with them about renewable energy.

Kids learn best from visuals and by hands-on learning. Showing them videos, designing and creating projects, and even taking them to a renewable energy plant are all great ways for them to learn. Just remember, they also need a role model to look up to if they are going to take a true interest.

They may stay interested on their own, but there are ways that you as a parent or teacher can help that along. Creating fun ways to bring the subject back around like setting up games, projects, or weekly topics can go a long way towards keeping them interested and invested in renewable energy.

Denmark already has wind parks, like this one in Copenhagen, but the country plans to build its biggest one yet on an artificial island by 2033. Flottmynd / Getty Images

Denmark approved plans on Thursday to construct an artificial island in the North Sea and use it as clean energy hub.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Beyond Blue is an adventure video game based on insights from real-life marine scientists.

By Tatiana Kondratenko

Dressed in a futuristic wetsuit that enables her to stay submerged for hours, diver and scientist Mirai is trying to discover secrets of the deep in the Western Pacific.

Read More Show Less
A seagull flies in front of the Rampion offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom. Neil / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

A key part of the United States' clean energy transition has started to take shape, but you may need to squint to see it. About 2,000 wind turbines could be built far offshore, in federal waters off the Atlantic Coast, in the next 10 years. And more are expected.

Read More Show Less
Trending
bottom view of blue building
Photo by ZSun Fu on Unsplash

Few structures are as synonymous with modern civilization as the skyscraper. The grandeur of these tall structures comes at a cost—buildings account for close to 40 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

While our tallest buildings take a heavy toll on the environment, they also offer opportunities for improvement. Today, green skyscrapers are transforming how cities worldwide address their ecological footprint. In many ways, they show our collective capability to adjust modern life for a more sustainable future. Here's a closer look at what makes a "green skyscraper" and why that matters in the world today.

Read More Show Less
Migratory white pelicans are seen along an oil-slicked shoreline in Barataria Bay, Louisiana on Dec. 5, 2010, about eight months after the BP oil spill. Mario Tama / Getty Images

On Monday the Biden administration restored protections for migratory birds from accidental, industry-caused deaths.

Read More Show Less
© Andy Carter / DeSmog

By Rich Collett-White and Rachel Sherrington

Fossil fuel companies could face legal challenges over their misleading advertising, after a DeSmog investigation uncovered the extent of their "greenwashing."

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Manchester City Football Club is trialing edible coffee cups. BioBite

By Victoria Masterson

  • English soccer club Manchester City is trialing an edible coffee cup made from leak-proof wafer.
  • Another English team, Forest Green Rovers, has tried sustainable shirts made from recycled coffee beans and plastic bottles on for size.
  • FIFA is aiming for Qatar 2022 to be the first carbon-neutral World Cup.

The pitches may be green – but how sustainable is soccer?

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A female condor above the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

One environmental downside to wind turbines is their impact on birds.

Read More Show Less
2022 Florida Solar Tax Credits, Incentives & Rebates

See how you can save money on solar panels in Florida.

Reviews
Pitsanu Prom-or / iStock / Getty Images

Florida is well-known as the Sunshine State because of its year-round sunny weather that draws millions of tourists each year, but historically, Florida hasn't actually been a national leader when it comes to solar energy generation. That said, financial incentives like Florida solar tax credit and rebate opportunities have played a huge part in its rise to become one of the top states for solar energy.

To the glee of clean energy advocates across the state, various Florida solar incentives have succeeded in bringing solar power throughout the state. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2020, Florida ranked third in the nation for solar energy capacity, and it had the second-most installations during the second quarter of 2021.

This progress in the solar field comes from many different sources, not the least of which is Florida solar incentives. For any homes or businesses feeling left behind while the rest of the state goes solar, these types of solar tax credits are still widely available across Florida, which will be discussed in this article.

For most homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. To see how much you'd pay for a home solar system (and how much you can shave off that price with Florida solar tax credit and incentive opportunities), you can get a free quote from a top solar company near you by using this tool or filling out the form below.

Florida Solar Tax Credits and Solar Rebates

As much as transitioning to clean energy is the best thing for the environment and the fight against climate change, the reality has always been that such changes would be slow to happen (if they happened at all) unless they made sense financially. When solar energy systems are proven to save money for those who pay the high upfront costs to install them, those purchases are better considered a worthy investment.

As such, some of the most effective policies encouraging solar installations have been those making the decision a no-brainer from the budgetary perspective. Let's take a look at some of the top Florida solar incentives.

Florida Solar Incentive Program Overview
Florida Net Metering Programs Credits homeowners when their solar panels produce extra electricity and it is exported to the local power grid
Florida Tax Exemptions Property tax exemptions and sales tax exemptions for solar and other renewable energy equipment
Local Incentives Incentives, rebates and low-interest financing programs at the town, city, and county level that encourage local solar installations

Florida Net Metering Programs

Regardless of the state, one of the most critical types of energy policy for solar panels is known as net metering. Through net metering, homeowners can feed excess electricity produced by their solar panels into the power grid in exchange for utility credits. These credits can be used to pay for the energy a home uses when panels aren't producing (such as at night).

Net metering tends to be a state-by-state policy, as there is no federal policy regarding net metering. Florida is one of the states where there is, in fact, a statewide net metering program, applicable for homeowners regardless of which utility serves their area.

The specific net metering provision covers up to 2 megawatts (MW) of capacity for any customers who generate electricity with a renewable energy source. Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy have the largest net metering programs in the state.

The availability of such net metering serves as an incentive for Floridians to install solar panels on their property. Not only do they benefit by reducing their power bills from pulling energy from the grid less often, but they can even profit when the utility pays them for generating more power than they consume, bringing their solar payback period down.

Florida Solar Tax Exemptions

Another financial mechanism that the Florida state government offers to solar system owners is solar tax exemptions. To start, Florida doesn't want to make the upfront cost to purchase and install solar equipment to be any higher than the open market says it should be, so since 1997, all solar energy systems have been completely exempt from Florida's sales and use tax.

Once a solar photovoltaic system is purchased and installed, there is a statewide property tax abatement that further helps homeowners avoid paying taxes on it. Most home additions, such as a new shed or outdoor patio built in a home's backyard, would be appraised to determine the value it added to the property and thus increase the overall property tax. However, the added home value of solar panels is excluded from the property's taxable value.

Local Incentives

Florida is also a large, diverse state, so in addition to the state solar incentives, many local jurisdictions enact their own policies to encourage and support installation of solar energy systems. At the town, city or county level, Floridians will commonly find low-interesting solar financing options, specific solar incentives or rebates, and more.

You can determine whether your locality offers such incentives by investigating your local government websites or talking to utility company representatives. When you do, you may come across such successful programs as Jacksonville's $2,000 rebate for solar battery installations, Boynton Beach's Energy Edge Rebate Program, or the Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program offered by Dunedin.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Floridians, of course, can also benefit from all the tax incentives, rebates and credits that are offered at the federal level. Over the past two decades, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) has attributed largely to the rapid growth in solar energy across business sectors, geographies and customer types.

For systems installed and operational before the end of 2022, the federal solar tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the installation, dropping to 22% for systems installed in 2023. It is currently set to expire afterward, though the idea of extending the ITC beyond its current expiration date, as has been done in the past, has been a part of active clean energy policy debates.

FAQ: Florida Solar Incentives

Does Florida have a solar tax credit?

State-wide, there is no specific Florida solar tax credit. However, all utilities in the state of Florida do offer customers the ability to utilize net metering, Florida solar homeowners are eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and some local jurisdictions in Florida may offer their own tax credits.

Is solar tax exempt in Florida?

In Florida, the purchase and installation of a home solar system is exempt from all sales tax, and the value of renewable systems are excluded from 100% of residential property taxes.

How much is the solar tax credit for 2022?

For any solar panel system installed before the end of 2022, the federal solar investment tax credit is equal to 26% of the value of the system.

Is Florida a good state for solar?

Florida is a great state for solar from the perspective of having year-round sunny weather, higher-than-average solar irradiance and a policy landscape conducive to solar installations. Because of these factors, Florida ranked third among all states in terms of solar capacity installed in 2020 (rising to second when looking at the third quarter of 2021), per the SEIA.

How much do solar panels cost in Florida?

Based on market research and data from top solar companies, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $2.53 per watt. However, this is only an average, and prices can vary widely depending on where you live, the number of solar panels you need and more.

To get a free estimate for your own home solar system, you can get connected with a pre-screened local installer by using this tool or entering your home's information below.

Some conservatives are blaming wind turbines for Texas' power grid failure following a severe winter storm. Orjan F. Ellingvag / Corbis / Getty Images

While Texans suffer from freezing temperatures and extensive power outages, frozen wind turbines are being used as a ploy to spread skepticism on the reliability of renewable energy.

Read More Show Less
Trending
The plan involves selling leases off the coasts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Patrik Del Mestre / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Climate action groups and ocean defenders issued strong praise Monday after the Biden administration announced its intention to boost the nation's offshore wind capacity with a number of steps including preparing forfede leases in an area off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Read More Show Less
zstockphotos / iStock / Getty Images

Solar energy has been among the fastest-growing sources of power generation in the U.S. in recent years, catapulting from 1.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of generation in 2010 to over 90.1 billion kWh in 2020. While that's still just a small slice of the overall energy mix (2% of all U.S. electricity in 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), the rate of growth is accelerating. The EIA forecasts that by 2022, solar capacity installations will outpace wind capacity installations for the first time on record after wind turbines had a huge head start.

The COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn of 2020 led to equipment shortages and other hardships for the solar industry. However, forecasts show the industry is primed for a resurgence in 2021 and beyond. In the first quarter of 2021 alone, solar companies are ramping up installations at a record pace and experienced a 46% year-over-year increase compared with the first quarter of 2020.

As 2021 continues to look like a prime year for solar power in the United States, which states are leading the charge? We can look to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report® from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for some answers.

Top 10 States for Solar Energy

The Solar Market Insight Report included a ranking of the top states across the country based on the total amount of solar electric capacity installed and in operation as of the end of the first quarter of 2021. To put it into context, SEIA figures also include the equivalent number of homes that can be powered by that solar capacity in the individual state.

Here are the current leaders for solar power in the U.S.:

State Cumulative Solar Capacity (Megawatts) Equivalent Number of Homes Supplied by Solar Energy
California 31,873 8,548,370
Texas 9,311 1,082,407
North Carolina 7,132 859,707
Florida 7,074 842,897
Arizona 5,247 810,751
Nevada 3,904 672,707
New Jersey 3,653 586,709
Massachusetts 3,263 545,258
Georgia 3,069 359,160
New York 2,840 474,848

On this leaderboard, some states show up that would be expected — California has long been the solar king, and they don't call Florida the Sunshine State for nothing — while other states represent surprising emerging solar hotbeds. For example, you may be surprised to see some smaller, northeastern states like Massachusetts and New Jersey beating out the field. But these results go to show it's not just about land space and the natural sunshine; the policies and economics driving these installations are just as impactful.

2021 Top States for New Solar Installation

With the solar market really exploding in recent years, traditional solar stalwarts like Arizona and Nevada are being actively challenged by some emerging contenders.

Specifically looking at where solar installations were most active during the first quarter of 2021, the SEIA report finds the following were the top states for solar installations from January through March:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. Indiana
  5. Virginia

On top, Texas added 1,525 megawatts (MW) of capacity, which is equivalent to 45% of the capacity installed in the state during all of 2020 and represents 16% of the state's cumulative capacity to date. California added 563 MW of capacity, equivalent to 14% of the capacity installed in 2020 and 2% of the state's cumulative capacity. Florida added 525 MW of capacity, which is 19% of the capacity installed during 2020 and 7% of the state's total capacity.

Compare the above list with the top 5 states for solar installations for all of 2020:

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. Virginia
  5. North Carolina

A few compelling trends become evident when looking at the above numbers. First, it's never too late to become a solar leader. While Florida is in the top five of cumulative capacity today, and given its sunny reputation that result may not seem surprising, the truth is that 47% of that capacity has been added since the beginning of 2020. In just over a years' time, Florida nearly doubled its total solar capacity.

Another important trend to recognize is that geography alone doesn't decide whether a state will be a solar leader. Mid-Atlantic states like Virginia and North Carolina or Midwestern states like Indiana wouldn't necessarily be the first most would guess as being solar powerhouses, but thanks to policies like North Carolina's generous Solar Property Tax Exemption, Virginia's allowance for net metering and Indiana's solar easement laws, residents of these states are enjoying solar power on their homes in record numbers.

Where Does Your State Rank for New Solar Installation?

So, are you living in a state that's leading the way on solar or one that has some ground to make up? Factors to consider when looking at why some states are making more progress than others will include the types of policies in place, the availability of rooftops on which solar can be installed, the appetite for new energy generation and even the state's seasonal solar irradiance.

Taking all of those factors into account, here's where each state stands in SEIA's recently published rankings:

Here's how each state's Q1 2021 ranking compares to how it ranked for total solar installations in 2020:

State Ranking
for Q1 2021
Solar Installations
Ranking
for Total 2020
Solar Installations
Texas
1 2
California 2 1
Florida 3 3
Indiana 4 32
Virginia 5 4
Michigan 6 27
Oregon 7 20
Iowa 8 22
Utah 9 10
New York 10 8
South Carolina 11 6
Massachusetts 12 12
North Carolina 13 5
Illinois 14 14
Maine 15 29
Arizona 16 9
New Jersey 17 11
Colorado 18 13
Maryland 19 26
Nevada 20 15
Minnesota 21 21
Connecticut 22 24
Ohio 23 18
Pennsylvania 24 17