Solar Panels for Businesses Fort Lauderdale Financial Incentives
Learn about the financial incentives available for businesses and commercial properties looking to install solar panels in Fort Lauderdale and Broward Country, Florida.
Living in South Florida, installing solar panels on your rooftop seems like a natural choice. In addition to their environmental benefits, solar energy can provide commercial building owners with lower operating costs through a reduction in energy bills, tax credits and a variety of other long-term savings for businesses.
With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, Fort Lauderdale businesses are taking advantage of the sun to turn it into clean energy while building sustainable, environmentally-responsible companies. The City is making going green easier with the Go Solar Broward Rooftop Solar Challenge which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative to reduce the total costs of solar energy by 75%. It works to make installing rooftop solar easier, faster, and more affordable for businesses by streamlining permit processes, updating planning, and zoning codes, improving standards for connecting solar power to the electric grid, and increasing access to financing.
Top Financial Incentives for Businesses in Fort Lauderdale to Install Solar:
Lower Your Energy Bills
Even during the stormy Florida summer days, solar panels continue to attract energy, and this indirect light is enough to power a commercial building. Commercial solar panels can help offset your entire building’s need for power during peak kilowatt hours (most expensive times to use electricity) and can switch your system back to the power grid when utility rates are down again. As an added benefit, net metering allows the extra energy that your system produces to be sent back to your electric utility’s grid. Your utility company will then credit you for the excess energy that your system produces. That credit will be applied to your next bill, lowering your monthly costs and increasing your monthly savings. As utility rates increase so do your electricity bill savings, and your system eventually pays for itself.
Federal Tax Credit
The federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes through 2019. The solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) can be claimed as soon as the construction of the system begins. The ITC, combined with a new 100% bonus depreciation benefit for businesses, can help reduce the system price by as much as 60%. Add that to savings from a reduced utility bill, and business owners are looking at a solid investment. The ITC decreases to 26% for projects that begin construction in 2020, 22% for projects that begin construction in 2021, and a permanent 10% rate for projects after 2021. Commercial projects which have commenced construction before December 31, 2021, may still qualify for the 30, 26 or 22% ITC if they are placed in service before December 31, 2023.
Other solar incentives in Florida include:
- Property Tax Exemptions: Commercial building owners can receive an 80% property tax abatement to exclude the value that a solar system adds to their property. This tax benefit applies to devices installed on or after January 1, 2018, and expires December 31, 2037.
- State sales tax exemptions are also offered to Florida commercial building owners, resulting in a 6% savings.
How Can a Business Finance a Solar Panel Installation?
Although the cost of switching to solar has decreased substantially over the years, installing panels is still a considerable investment. Luckily, there are several financing options that make solar more accessible. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is a financing option for energy efficiency and conservation projects available to business owners in Broward County. PACE pays for 100% of a project’s costs and is repaid for up to 20 years with an assessment added to the property’s tax bill. PACE financing can also be combined with utility, local and federal incentive programs. It may stay with the building upon sale and is easy to share with tenants.
Broward property owners have the choice between six private finance providers and repay through a non-ad valorem special assessment added to their annual property tax bill. So if you pay your annual property taxes as a direct lump-sum payment or from an escrow account, that is how your PACE project will be paid back. All but four of the municipalities in Broward County participate as part of the countywide PACE program, but those that do not may have their own existing program so check with your city for more information.
What is the Return on Investment for a Commercial Solar Panel Installation?
The typical solar investment can see a return on investment (ROI) in five to 10 years when using the ITC and accelerated depreciation. Advanced Green Technologies (AGT) values ROI based on energy consumption combined with intangibles such as preserving the rooftop and other additional benefits.