Florida has surpassed California and Texas in the first half of 2023 to become the top state for solar installations in the United States. With an impressive 2,499 MW of solar generation capacity added during this period (compared to 1,648 MW in California and 1,292 MW in Texas), the state has achieved a 52% increase from 2022, according to Energy News Network.
Although the state does not require utility companies to purchase renewable energy from the grid or host power purchase agreements, Florida does offer solar incentives such as a net metering program. Here’s everything you need to know to capitalize on the power of the sun!
Florida Statue 25-6.065 Interconnection and Net Metering of Customer-Owned Renewable Generation.
(8) Net Metering.
(a) Each investor-owned utility shall enable each customer-owned renewable generation facility interconnected to the investor-owned utility’s electrical grid pursuant to this rule to net meter.
(b) Each investor-owned utility shall install, at no additional cost to the customer, metering equipment at the point of delivery capable of measuring the difference between the electricity supplied to the customer from the investor-owned utility and the electricity generated by the customer and delivered to the investor-owned utility’s electric grid.
(c) Meter readings shall be taken monthly on the same cycle as required under the otherwise applicable rate schedule.
(d) The investor-owned utility shall charge for electricity used by the customer in excess of the generation supplied by customer-owned renewable generation in accordance with normal billing practices.
(e) During any billing cycle, excess customer-owned renewable generation delivered to the investor-owned utility’s electric grid shall be credited to the customer’s energy consumption for the next month’s billing cycle.
(f) Energy credits produced pursuant to paragraph (8)(e) shall accumulate and be used to offset the customer’s energy usage in subsequent months for a period of not more than twelve months. At the end of each calendar year, the investor-owned utility shall pay the customer for any unused energy credits at an average annual rate based on the investor-owned utility’s COG-1, as-available energy tariff.
(g) When a customer leaves the system, that customer’s unused credits for excess kWh generated shall be paid to the customer at an average annual rate based on the investor-owned utility’s COG-1, as-available energy tariff.
(h) Regardless of whether excess energy is delivered to the investor-owned utility’s electric grid, the customer shall continue to pay the applicable customer charge and applicable demand charge for the maximum measured demand during the billing period. The investor-owned utility shall charge for electricity used by the customer in excess of the generation supplied by customer-owned renewable generation at the investor-owned utility’s otherwise applicable rate schedule. The customer may at their sole discretion choose to take service under the investor-owned utility’s standby or supplemental service rate, if available.
Unraveling Net Metering
The energy produced by your solar panels depends on the amount of sunlight available, and Florida enjoys over 237 sunny days annually. With this abundance, solar photovoltaic (PV) systems typically reach peak production around midday, resulting in surplus solar power. Through a process called net metering, this excess solar energy can be fed back into the local electrical grid, earning you credits to offset your utility bill.
In essence, the net metering process works as follows:
- The utility measures your surplus solar generation using a revenue-grade meter that supports bidirectional monitoring.
- Credits from surplus solar energy are deducted from your monthly electricity bill.
- Any surplus solar generation exceeding your consumption in a given month is carried over to the following month.
Is Residential Net Metering Available In Florida?
Yes, Florida does provide net metering for residential properties. In 2008, Florida established a regulation requiring electric utilities to offer credits to customers with solar panels who contribute excess energy to the grid. This practice, known as net metering, allows these customers to receive bill credits for the surplus power their systems produce, and has played a significant role in bolstering the solar industry in the state.
What Are the Net Metering Requirements in Florida?
Florida’s net metering requirements are offered by the state’s two largest electricity utilities, Florida Power & Light (FPL) and Duke Energy. They provide net metering for solar power systems up to 2,000 kW in capacity, which exceeds most residential needs. Homeowners are classified into three tiers based on their solar system capacity, influencing application fees and insurance requirements. Tier 1 participants have no application fee or proof of insurance liability coverage, while Tier 2 and Tier 3 may face application fees of up to $1000 and insurance coverage requirements ranging from one to two million dollars. The tiers are defined as follows:
Tier 1: Solar capacity below 10kW
Tier 2: Solar capacity between 10 and 100kW
Tier 3: Solar capacity between 100 and 2000kW
How Much Can You Earn With Florida Net Metering Rates?
In Florida, a typical 5 kW home solar system can generate between 7,500 and 8,500 kWh of energy annually based on calculations from the Global Solar Atlas. With residential electricity priced at 16 cents per kWh, this solar output could potentially save a homeowner between $1,200 to $1,360 per year.
Getting Started with Net Metering in Florida: A Simple Guide
To begin converting solar power into savings, you must enroll in a net metering program with one of the two participating electricity utilities. Residential solar owners need to meet the following eligibility requirements.
Ensure Compliance with Fire and Electrical Codes
To be eligible, your solar system must comply with the National Electrical Code set by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Adhering to these standards ensures that solar panel manufacturers, installers, and users prioritize safety in the design, installation, and use of their systems, ultimately safeguarding lives and property. Your installer can furnish evidence of compliance.
Proper Inverter Specifications
Your system should be equipped with a visible disconnect switch or a UL 1741 solar inverter capable of disconnecting from the grid in the event of a power outage.
Proper Power Meter
In Florida, the local electricity utility requires the installation of a bidirectional power meter, also referred to as a two-way meter. This device tracks the electricity consumed and generated by your home or business. Additionally, you will need to sign an interconnection agreement with your selected electricity utility.
Passing Inspection From Local Inspector
Approval from a qualified local inspector is essential to ensure the safety, proper installation, and compliance of your solar system with all relevant codes and standards. The inspector will evaluate your system design, installation, and grid interconnection.
Proof Of Insurance And Submission Of Application (If Applicable)
Solar system owners must pay an application fee and provide evidence of liability insurance for interconnection. However, this requirement does not apply to solar systems with a capacity of less than 10 kW, which encompasses the majority of residential installations.
Region Solar’s Solar Professionals are Ready to Assist You on Your Solar Journey
We offer hassle-free residential solar solutions that are fully compliant with Florida’s net metering programs. Call (941) 355-6565 or complete our online form to start your solar journey today!