It was only six months ago when Sarasota County was recognized for its achievements in solar power. Sarasota was awarded “Silver” after being recognized for “taking bold steps to encourage solar energy growth and remove obstacles to solar development,” according to SolSmart. SolSmart defines itself as “a national designation program recognizing cities, counties, and regional organizations that foster the development of mature local solar markets.” The Department of Energy funds SolSmart in hopes of increasing solar capabilities through commemorating success. Let’s take a closer look at how Sarasota helped lead Florida’s solar growth and top national ranking in the industry.
According to Sarasota Magazine, “Sarasota County scored high marks for permitting, planning, zoning, and community education processes related to solar energy adoption, showing an overall commitment to reducing soft costs and barriers to solar adoption. SolSmart also noted the county’s community engagement and an array of solar training events (including those offered by Sarasota County Extension).” Sarasota has established innovation and growth in solar energy. A non-profit Co-op has even moved to Sarasota to help organize people into leveraging bulk purchasing to make the transition to solar power more manageable and even more affordable. This type of investment and advocacy for solar growth is a factor in Sarasota’s booming housing market. Sarasota is home to the first-ever solar-powered, master-planned community in the country, Babcock Ranch. Sarasota has motivations to become more dependent on energy sustainability through solar. Much of Florida is thriving, but Sarasota is leading the way, helped considerably by the residents’ motivations and public officials’ policies.
Florida’s Success and How it Was Done
Florida ranks 4th in all states for solar capacity. This ranking comes from the SEIA, Solar Energy Industries Association. The SEIA is a national trade association aimed to increase the Country’s total solar power. It ranks 3rd in projected growth with 8,296 Megawatts (MW) within the next five years. This success is due to many factors. Perhaps the most prominent reasons are that it saves people money in the long run, and it helps to turn our energy dependence into sustainable, renewable energy. Public officials and residents have taken notice. Across the country, legislation is being passed to help increase solar capacity. The three central policies in Florida come in the form of tax credit and two tax exemptions. It’s an attempt to incentivize prospective buyers.
- The first exemption is the ‘Florida’s Property Tax Exclusion for Residential Renewable Energy Property Act.’ This means that Florida will abate an increased tax that comes with the inevitable increase in property value. This law means your property taxes won’t rise because you’ve upgraded to solar energy.
- The second tax exemption is the ‘Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption.’ Purchasers won’t have to pay a sales tax on their solar system. Solar households could see savings of 6% by converting to solar. This is a permanent tax exemption.
- Lastly, there is the Solar ITC investment tax credit. This is a dollar-for-dollar, federal tax credit worth 26% of the solar installation cost. The entire investment is included and qualified.
These policies have been detrimental to the growth of solar in Florida. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be known as the Sunshine State.
Floridians are Doing their Part
The Sunshine State has more to offer than just warm weather and sunlight. Florida residents and businesses alike have made a combined effort to push for solar, and we see the results pay off. Policies were written to help residents take advantage of installing residential solar systems. Solar companies have grown to match this new demand. The growth seen in Sarasota has expanded throughout the entire state of Florida. Of course, it helps to have grown, innovative solar installation companies like RegionSolar contributing. If you live in Sarasota county and would like to learn more about solar; or would like a free quote, click here.