Solar Frequently Asked Questions
How do solar electric panels work?
Solar photovoltaic (PV), otherwise known as solar electricity, is energy that’s collected from the sun’s rays and converted into a usable power source and utilized for daily activities within your home, such as turning on the lights. Solar electricity is most popularly captured using solar panels as part of a solar energy system, especially here in South Florida where the sun is always shining. As opposed to other solar energy-capturing methods, such as solar pool heating or solar water heating, solar electricity by way of solar panels can seamlessly transfer into your home where it can be easily used to power all of your appliances and immediately begin to shrink your energy footprint and the bill that comes along with it.
The most common systems today are installed by what is known as a “grid-interactive” system, also known as a “grid-tiered” system. In this case, the solar electricity is used to directly power a home in conjunction with traditional non-solar power sources. Essentially, this method turns a home into a “hybrid” of sorts – using both solar panels while still making monthly payments to Florida Power and Light (FPL), albeit at significantly lower rates.
With a grid-interactive system, the transition between solar and non-solar electricity is seamless, meaning the two sources are conjoined and emanated automatically. In other words, there’s no need to worry about switches, levers, controls or anything of that sort – in fact, you wouldn’t even be able to tell which energy source your home is being powered by unless you were looking at the system monitor. The best part is that when your home generates more power in a month than it uses, the excess energy is credited to your electric bill by FPL via a process called Net Metering.
Mimeos Energy Florida offers full solar energy system installations, in addition to a number of other services for South Florida residents here.
Does Florida offer tax incentives for having solar panels?
The State of Florida will give you a direct tax credit of 30 cents for every dollar spent on your solar energy system. In other words, spending $5,000 on a solar energy system will add $1,500 to your annual tax return! If you decide not to use the credit one year, it can also be applied to future years. As an added bonus, adding a solar energy system to your home won’t affect your property appraisal, meaning your property taxes will remain the same. In other words, your home’s value increases without added taxes!
What is the risk of animals damaging my solar panels?
Solar energy panels have a misconception of being delicate and easily destructible. The reality is that today’s solar panels are extremely tough because they are made with tempered glass, bound by aluminum and supported by a durable backsheet. It would be very difficult for any kind of animal to get at it, even your friendly neighborhood gator. In fact, human installers routinely step on the glass during installation because it is meant to withstand enormous weight and resist intense scratching. Even if your friendly neighborhood gator decided he wanted to use your panels as a tanning bed, the only concern would be the loss of solar ray absorption. In the case of wires, the same rules apply as with your internet cables, and repairs usually range beneath $100.
Does Florida charge a sales tax on solar energy systems?
Nearly all viable forms of solar energy systems – be they solar electric, solar water heating, or solar pool heating systems – and associated components are exempt from all Florida sales tax.
Are my solar electric panels covered by my homeowner’s insurance?
Solar electric panels, as well as their pool-heating counterparts, are considered by the vast majority of insurance policies to be parts of your home so long as they are permanently installed, meaning they are fully covered from damage under your homeowners insurance. Of course, it’s worth confirming with your insurance agent, but solar energy systems are generally considered a standard appurtenance.
What happens to my solar energy system during cloudy or rainy days?
Luckily, living in the Sunshine State has its benefits. But, in those odd days when the sun isn’t shining, it’s important to note that your solar panels will produce less energy, which is why it’s beneficial to maintain a grid-interactive arrangement so FPL can come in and pick up the slack so your home doesn’t go dark.
On an overcast day, for instance, solar panels will produce less power and it will be up to either a full battery or FPL to keep the lights on. The good news is that FPL won’t charge you for the full, raw amount of energy being serviced to your home, but rather the net deficit between the excess energy you don’t use on sunny days against what you pull on cloudy days. In other words, a day spent on South Beach with little-to-no power being used by your home could be paid forward to FPL in anticipation of a rainy stay-home-and-watch-Netflix day.
All of this can be done in the background, without you having to lift a finger, by utilizing one of our grid-interactive solar energy systems. To learn more about our grid-interactive systems, visit our services page or contact us.
Do my property taxes increase if I install solar panels?
No! By law, solar panels cannot be added to the assessed value of residential property, and thus cannot be factored into property tax rates. They are 100% property tax-free.
This was made possible by HB 277 in the 2013 Florida State Legislative Session, which added Section 193.624 to the Florida Statutes:
Florida provides a property tax exemption for residential photovoltaic systems, wind energy systems, solar water heaters, and geothermal heat pumps installed on or after January 1, 2013. For the purpose of assessing property taxes for a home, an increase in the just value of the property attributable to the installation of this equipment should be ignored. The exemption applies to the following types of equipment used as part of a solar, wind or geothermal system:
- Solar energy collectors, photovoltaic modules, and inverters.
- Storage tanks and other storage systems, excluding swimming pools used as storage tanks.
- Thermostats and other control devices.
- Heat exchange devices.
- Pumps and fans.
- Roof ponds.
- Freestanding thermal containers.
- Pipes, ducts, refrigerant handling systems, and other equipment used to interconnect such systems; however, such equipment does not include conventional backup systems of any type
- Windmills and wind turbines.
- Wind-driven generators.
- Power conditioning and storage devices that use wind energy to generate electricity or mechanical forms of energy.
- Pipes and other equipment used to transmit hot geothermal water to a dwelling or structure from a geothermal deposit.
This exemption applies to assessments beginning January 1, 2014, and for equipment installed on or after January 1, 2013.
Unfortunately, this exemption does not apply to commercial property, but many county appraisers abide by the practice of not including solar energy systems in their appraisals due to municipal statutes or otherwise.
Can I use solar electric panels for pool-heating?
Yes, but it would be far more effective to use solar pool heating panels when it comes to keeping your pool warm in those arid winter months where, thankfully here in the Sunshine State, the sun continues to shine. Solar pool heating panels are nearly four times more efficient than solar electric panels for heating pools, and are far less costly and complicated when it comes to that very task.
Can I install a solar energy system if I live in a rented apartment or condo?
In short, likely not. In order to do so, the electric bill must be under your name and your landlord must allow you to have solar panels and the necessary solar energy system components installed. This would not be a temporary set-up either, as it would require permanent alterations that would be very costly to undue. There are many “plug-and-play” or “portable” solar panels out there that promise easy transition to solar energy – all of it is either illegal or completely useless. In order for a solar energy system to work and for you to have any chance of seeing a return on investment using solar energy is for the system to be properly installed in accordance with strict building and electrical codes and for the system to remain in place for many years.
Do you what to know more details on how installing solar panels at your home would save you more money? Contact us today or call us at (877) 646-3671 to talk with Mimeos Energy solar experts.