Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), Florida’s largest utility, is introducing a new, $9 million round of solar incentives. But if you’re a home or business owner in Florida, you'd better hurry. The rebates become available on Oct. 15, and in the past FPL’s rebate program has sold out in a matter of hours, showing the intense demand for solar power in the sunshine state.
At $2,000 per kilowatt, the incentives are generous and save solar users significant amounts of money. “Based on data provided by customers who received FPL solar rebates during the past year, the upfront cost of a typical, 5-kW residential solar system is currently in the range of $20,000 to $25,000. At $2,000 per kW, FPL's solar rebate would offset $10,000 for this size installation,” FPL said. If all of the funds available supported photovoltaics (PV), that would support roughly 4,500 kilowatts of PV or about 900, 5 kilowatt PV arrays.
The $9 million in solar rebates, however, is available to home and business owners to support photovoltaics as well as solar thermal arrays. "The cost of solar PV and solar water heating systems vary significantly, depending on the contractor, so it's important to do your research before making a purchase," said Buck Martinez, senior director of FPL's Office of Clean Energy, which manages the program.
In addition to the rebates up for grabs, FPL will also install solar at 500 locations, more than 400 of which have been built or refurbished by Habitat for Humanity or other non-profits. Nearly 100 locations are public schools and educational facilities across Florida. The installations at the homes will be solar hot water heaters. The projects are part of a pilot program approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, according to FPL.
"Through FPL's programs, our homeowners become more successful in the homeownership program due to reduced electric costs on an ongoing basis. Without FPL, we would not be able to provide the high level of home energy sustainability that we have achieved in the past two years," said Mike Campbell, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of South Palm Beach County.
"FPL has long been an advocate for solar power and new technologies, and we recognize we're in a unique position to help educate the public, and especially young people, about energy, which is such a critical issue for our future," Martinez said.
FPL customers can start signing up for the rebates at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 15. The utility is accepting online applications at www.FPL.com/solarrebates where building owners can reserve a rebate and can check ahead of time to see what they need to qualify for a rebate. Florida solar installers can also help people learn what the requirements are. Since in the past, the rebates have gone within hours of being offered, FPL recommended that applicants have all the necessary components of the application ready before applying.