Florida Solar Panel Incentives: Rebates, Tax Credits, Financing and More

Florida Solar Panel Incentives: Rebates, Tax Credits, Financing and More

A huge amount of sun and a few incentives make solar panel purchasing in Florida relatively easy. The state encourages its residents to install solar panels, though it doesn’t rank in CNET’s list of seven best states for solar incentives.

Florida legislates both sales tax and property tax exemptions for solar panels, continues to mandate net metering policies for excess solar generation and is one of only three states that offer property-assessed clean energy, or PACE, loans for solar. Florida’s state-based solar programs are also reinforced by a host of local and municipal-based incentives.

Read more: Best Solar Companies in Florida

Some critics have challenged solar policies in Florida. The state legislature passed a law in 2022 to end net metering but was rebuffed by the governor’s veto. PACE loans have come under fire for their lack of transparency. It’s more important than ever for Floridians to know what’s going on with solar panel incentives in their state.

Depending on where you live in Florida, you can still get good money back for installing solar panels or a solar water heater. Learn everything you need to know about solar incentives in Florida.

Note: All of the solar incentives listed below are for residential electric customers in Florida. There are different solar incentives for businesses, schools and other organizations. The incentives were current as of March 22, 2024.

Comparing Florida incentives for solar panels

Florida incentive Description Eligibility Estimated value*
Solar property tax exemption Value of solar installations is exempt from home assessments for property taxes All Floridians $218 per year
Solar sales tax exemption Solar panels and eligible installation equipment are exempt from the state’s 6% sales tax All Floridians $1,440
PACE loans Solar financing through property tax lien All Floridians Variable
SELF loans Fixed-rate loans for solar panels All Floridians Variable
Net metering Money back for excess solar energy generated Most Floridians Billing credit at retail rate; annual excess paid at avoided-cost rate
Boynton Beach Energy Edge rebate Money back for solar panels with greater than 5kW capacity Homeowners and businesses in Boynton Beach $1,500
Dunedin Solar Energy Rebate Grant Program $0.25 per watt for solar power Dunedin residents and businesses Up to $2,500
Solar appliance rebates Money back for new solar water heaters and solar attic fans Residents of participating cities $150 to $900
Local financing for solar panels Special loans from public utilities Customers of participating utilities Variable
Federal solar tax credit 30% back on solar panel installations All Americans $7,200

* Estimated value calculated by using a national average of $24,000 for installing solar panels and 0.91% for average Florida property tax.

Florida state solar tax credits, exemptions and loan programs

There aren’t currently any state tax credits for solar panels in Florida right now, but there are other tax incentives and sources of financing for solar installations that are available to everyone in Florida.

Florida state property tax exemption for solar panels

Solar panels and other renewable energy investments like wind turbines and geothermal heat pumps are exempt from property tax assessments in Florida. That means that even if the value of your home increases from the installation of solar panels, you won’t have to pay more in property taxes because of it.

The average property tax in Florida is 0.91%, according to the Tax Foundation. There are lots of different ways to calculate the value of adding solar panels to a house but using a $24,000 average cost of installation, that property tax exemption will save Floridians who install solar panels about $218 per year.

Florida sales tax exemption for solar panels

Florida is only one of 12 states that offer sales and property tax exemptions for solar panels. A 2023 Florida law stipulates that solar panels and solar energy equipment are exempt from state sales tax. 

Since Florida state sales tax is 6%, the exemption on solar panels and equipment will save homeowners $1,440 on an average $24,000 solar panel installation. 

Florida residential PACE loans

Florida is one of three states (along with California and Missouri) that allow property-assessed clean energy loans for solar panels. PACE loans allow homeowners to install solar panels with no upfront cost. Instead, a lien is placed on the property for the value of the solar panel installation, and homeowners pay off the money as a line item in their property tax bills. Terms for PACE loans are usually five to 20 years.

PACE loans don’t require a credit check and are an easy way to make renewable energy improvements, but PACE programs in Florida have come under fire due to a lack of state oversight. Since PACE loans require a lien on the property, there’s an additional risk of foreclosure for nonpayment. Some lenders — particularly Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — won’t issue mortgages for properties with PACE liens, meaning you’d need to pay off the loan completely to sell your house.

Florida SELF loans

The Solar and Energy Loan Fund encourages underserved communities to install solar panels by providing advantageous financing for solar installations. Borrowers get a fixed rate of 7.99% to 8.25% for loan amounts of $3,000 to $25,000 over terms of three to 10 years.

There is no minimum credit score or minimum income required to be eligible for a SELF loan, but you must be current on your property taxes and have paid your mortgage on time for at least the past 90 days. The program occasionally offers other rates, like a 10-year loan at 6.99% offered in early 2024.

Local solar panel rebates in Florida

There are only a few local rebates for solar panels in Florida right now. Most local rebates are for solar water heaters or attic fans. We’ll continue to update this space as new solar incentives in Florida arise.

Boynton Beach Energy Edge rebate program

Boynton Beach is an Atlantic Coast city in Florida offering money back for solar investment. The city currently gives $1,500 back for installation of qualifying solar panel systems. The solar installation must have at least 5kW capacity and 17.5% efficiency to be eligible for the rebate.

Dunedin solar energy rebate grant program

Is it a grant or a rebate? Does it matter? Located to the west of Tampa on the Gulf Coast, the city of Dunedin gives residents and businesses money for installing solar systems. The rebate/grant is based on solar panel system capacity. Residents can get $0.25 per watt of solar power generated up to a maximum of $2,500. Yearly funds are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, and projects must be completed and permitted by Oct. 1 each year.

Local rebates for solar appliances in Florida

Florida might only have a few rebates for solar panels, but cities and local utilities offer rebates for solar water heaters, solar pool heaters and solar attic fans. Here are all the rebates for solar appliances that we were able to find in Florida.

Beaches Energy solar water heater rebate

Serving the beach cities east of Jacksonville, Beaches Energy gives its customers up to $1,250 back for energy-efficient upgrades, including $500 for the installation of a solar water heater.

Clay Electric solar water heater rebate

Clay Electric Cooperative provides its customers with rebates for energy efficiency upgrades like foam insulation and heat pumps. Its rebate for solar water heaters is based on the capacity, paying $0.01 per output BTU for a maximum rebate of $600.

Fort Pierce Utilities solar water heater rebate

Located an hour north of West Palm Beach, publicly owned Fort Pierce Utilities provides customers with rebates for Energy Star appliances, insulation and other efficiency upgrades. Qualifying solar water heaters can get a $450 rebate.

JEA $400 solar water heater rebate

Jacksonville-based JEA gives its residential customers a wide range of energy efficiency rebates, including $400 for those who convert from an electric water heater to solar.

Keys Energy solar water heater rebate

Along with rebates for efficient refrigerators, ceiling fans and dishwashers, Keys Energy gives its residential customers $450 for solar water heaters.

New Smyrna Beach solar attic fan rebate

South of Daytona Beach, the coastal utility of New Smyrna Beach only offers customers a few efficiency rebates, but one of them is for solar attic fans. Qualifying purchases can get 25% back of the installation cost, up to a maximum of $150. 

Ocala Electric Utility $450 solar water heater rebate

Ocala Electric customers who make the switch from an electric water heater to solar are eligible for one of the utility’s many efficiency rebates. Qualifying solar heaters can get $450 back.

Orlando Utilities Commission solar water heater rebate

OUC offers up to $900 back as an energy efficiency rebate for installing solar water heating. Customers must use one of OUC’s “preferred solar contractors” to be eligible for the rebate, which doesn’t include solar pool heating.

Tallahassee $450 solar water heater rebate

Along with special financing for solar water heaters (see below), Tallahassee also provides a rebate of $450 for switching from electric to solar. The rebate shows up as a credit on customers’ electric bills.

Special loans for solar panels in Florida

For financing solar panels, Florida residents have several local loan options, along with the statewide PACE and SELF loans mentioned above. The following cities and local electrical providers offer special loans for solar panel installations or solar water heaters.

Clay Electric energy conservation loan

Clay Electric offers fixed-rate loans for 24 different energy-efficiency home improvements, including solar water heaters and solar pool heaters but not solar panel installations. Customers can borrow between $1,000 and $10,000 at rates of either 5% or 8%, depending on their credit rating. Loan terms depend on loan amounts, but the maximum repayment period is seven years.

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative solar loan program

Way down south in the Florida Keys, FKEC gives homeowners simple-interest loans of up to $35,000 for installing solar panels. The loan must be repaid within 10 years through monthly bill payments, and homeowners must have a 12-month clean billing history to qualify.

Lakeland Electric’s ReEnergize Lakeland Finance loan program

Lakeland Electric provides interest-free loans from $500 to $5,000 for renewable energy improvements including solar panels and solar water heaters to customers who have been in good standing for at least one year. The utility will place a lien on the property until the loan is repaid via monthly billing. The loan excludes the value of any tax credits or rebates on the solar panels, including the federal solar tax credit.

Lauderhill interest-free solar loans

West of Fort Lauderdale, the city of Lauderhill offers interest-free loans of $400 to $2,500 for Energy Star appliances, as well as solar panel installations and solar water heaters. The loans must be paid back within two years. For solar panels, loan checks will be made payable directly to contractors.

Tallahassee Utilities energy-efficiency loans

Tallahassee Utilities provides 5% loans for 25 different energy-efficiency projects, including the installation of solar panels. You can get a maximum of $10,000 loan at a term of up to 10 years for solar panel projects that satisfy an energy audit. The city also provides loans for installing solar water heaters.

Federal solar tax credits and incentives for Floridians

As with most other states, the biggest incentive for installing solar panels in Florida might be the federal solar tax credit, officially called the residential clean energy credit. It gives homeowners who install solar panels 30% of their cost back at tax time, a $7,200 value based on an average installation cost of $24,000.

There’s no maximum to the credit although it is nonrefundable — you can’t receive more money than you owe in taxes. To claim the federal solar tax credit when you file your tax return, use IRS Form 5695 (or let the best tax software handle it for you).

Florida net metering rules for solar energy

Florida has required net metering programs for solar energy customers since 2008. Net metering is the practice of paying customers back for excess solar energy that is put back into the electrical grid.

The net metering law for Florida applies to the state’s four major investor-owned utilities — Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light, Florida Public Utilities and Tampa Electric Company. These companies must give customers credits for excess solar energy that are equal to their retail rates for electricity. Those credits can roll over monthly to pay future electric bills. At the end of the year, the utilities must pay customers for their unused credits based on an “avoided cost” rate that is lower than the retail rate.

Most regional and municipal electric utilities in Florida have net metering policies of their own, although they are not required to by law. Here is a collection of several local electric providers in Florida that provide net metering with links to their policies and rates.

The future of net metering in Florida remains uncertain. In 2022, state legislation to eliminate net metering passed both houses of the legislature but was vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Community solar projects in Florida

large-scale solar panel farm in Florida

Community solar lets customers purchase electricity directly from large-scale solar installations.

Glen Richard/Getty Images

Florida does not have any laws requiring utilities to provide community solar programs to their customers. Community solar allows energy consumers to access solar power without installing solar panels on their homes. Instead, participants join solar projects that generate electricity for multiple homes using large-scale solar installations located elsewhere.

The following utilities provide solar programs that operate similarly to community solar projects. Some programs are currently full but offer waitlists for when spots become available:

The Florida Municipal Solar Project is a joint community solar effort between the Florida Municipal Power Agency and 16 public power companies across the state — Alachua, Bartow, Fort Pierce, Havana, Homestead, Jacksonville Beach, Key West, Kissimmee, Lake Worth, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Ocala, Orlando, Wauchula and Winter Park — but only a few of those utilities currently offer community solar programs for their customers:

Florida solar panel incentives FAQs

Is going solar worth it in Florida?

As every house, homeowner and solar panel installation is different, whether installing solar panels in Florida will be worth it for you depends on your unique situation. The size of your solar panel installation, the amount of sun your home gets and the amount of energy your family uses will all impact the time it takes for your solar panels to pay for themselves.

The average payback time for solar panels in the US is about six to 12 years.

How do solar tax incentives work?

Incentives for installing solar panels can take various forms at the federal, state and local levels. Solar tax credits are tax breaks for installing solar panels, and recipients receive those financial benefits at tax time. Rebates and grants provide direct financial assistance for installing solar panels, either before or after construction.

Special loans or financing options for solar panels let customers borrow money for solar under more advantageous terms than personal loans or mortgages. Net metering rules give money back to solar panel owners who generate more electricity than they consume. 

How does the federal solar tax credit work?

The federal solar tax credit — technically called the residential clean energy credit — gives taxpayers who install solar panels 30% of their cost back at tax time. There is no maximum for the credit; you’ll get 30% back whether you spend $10,000 or $100,000 for your solar installation.

The solar tax credit is nonrefundable, meaning you can’t receive more than you owe in taxes, but if your credit ends up more than your tax burden, you can carry over the difference to the next tax year. To claim the credit, taxpayers should file IRS Form 5695, which is easily handled by the best tax software.

What is net metering for solar energy?

Net metering is the system that utility companies use to compensate customers with solar panels generating excess electricity. The amount of energy compensated is calculated by “netting” the difference between the energy generated and energy consumed by a household.

Florida requires all of the investor-owned utilities to provide their customers with net metering, with monthly bill credits determined by the retail rate of electricity. At the end of the year, they must pay out any extra credits in cash based on a lower wholesale rate. Although publicly owned utilities are not required to offer net metering, most in Florida do so anyway.

What about solar power purchase agreements in Florida?

Florida has heavy restrictions on power purchase agreements that make it very difficult for residential solar. State law requires that anyone selling energy in Florida must follow all the regulations for large utilities, making PPAs financially impractical.

Solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) let homeowners get electricity from solar panels on their roofs at no cost at all by allowing a third party to install and own the solar panels. The homeowner then agrees to a fixed rate for the generated electricity.

study commissioned by Solar United Neighbors found that PPA-enabled solar projects would add solar panels to 95,000 to 159,000 homes in Florida. A bill introduced to the Florida legislature in 2021 would have enabled PPAs for public schools, but the legislation did not make it out of committee hearings.

Read More


Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

Get notified about new articles