[I originally wrote this for Solar Power World! You can view it on their site HERE]
For many people, the idea of solar has gone through a drastic transformation over the last several years. In the minds of an average American consumer, it has transitioned from a left-wing extremist idea, to an off-grid “hippie thing,” to a hobby that only rich people can afford. Now, thankfully, the market is beginning to mature to the point where the solar is no longer seen as extreme or exclusive–it’s just smart.
That being said, the initial cost of installing solar can still be intimidating to somebody who wants to “go solar,” depending on where they are trying to install. Despite the fact that the cost of solar has dropped by over 40% in some areas, it is still a considerable investment that requires financing options for many consumers. Would a $20,000 solar rebate help? How about $50,000? For most, it would help quite a bit. Florida Power and Light realized this, and so re-opened its solar rebate program yesterday for a 2015 solar rebate lottery.
After about a month of preparation, the highly anticipated solar rebate offered by Florida Power and Light (FPL) was opened for application yesterday morning (January 14, 2015). After a “sneak” opening of a minute or so around the 8:23 AM mark, the rebate portal was officially live at 8:30 AM. Residential solar rebate funds were all claimed or allocated within the first 30 seconds. Business solar rebates followed suit and were completely claimed in the next 3 minutes.
The incredible speed at which these solar rebates were claimed makes a strong statement: Florida wants to go solar, and is begging the market to make it an affordable choice. In addition to the FPL solar rebate, customers can also get a 30% federal tax credit for their solar installations in the year of 2015. These incentives mean that customers can expect a return on their solar investment in well under 10 years, depending on the size of the installation.
While the choice to go solar is often heavily influenced by concerns about the environment and climate change, it is a choice with huge financial benefits as well. How well the financial benefits are received are dependent on the state the panels are installed. Each state has their own policies regarding rebates, tax credits, net metering, PPAs and any other solar or clean energy incentives that may be offered. Policy dictates results. These financial benefits, combined with the continuously dropping cost of solar and the obvious benefits to the environment make solar the clear choice for many home and business owners.
“There are very clear financial benefits in solar energy.” Said Ray Johnson of Florida Solar One. “We have been completely flooded with requests to help home and business owners go solar; it is crystal clear that solar is what the people of Florida want.”
This rebate process literally put millions of dollars into the solar industry, an economic stimulus of the most immediate kind. As opposed to previous financial investments by Florida state and city government that have seemingly lead to nothing but wasted money and dead-ends, this is real money that is resulting in real jobs and real solar. The hope of solar experts at Florida Solar One and across the state is that the people of Florida will be able to continue moving forward to make the choice to “go solar” an affordable option for people across all economic brackets.