Solar Plans Design System (SPDS) Now Live
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the Go SOLAR Florida team a $1.575 million, two and a half year SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II competitive award in September, 2013. The purpose of the award is to increase the use of and access to grid-tied solar energy installations among the state’s residents and businesses by reducing market barriers, lowering non-hardware related installation costs and providing access to financing options.
Go SOLAR Florida partners have been working to reduce soft costs associated with rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar system installation. One approach was to develop a Solar Plans Design System (SPDS) that creates an on-line solar system design package, including Florida Solar Energy Center solar system certification, 3-line electrical drawing, solar system component cut sheets, labeling details, and a detailed list of requirements for the site specific structural plans required for permittinmg. The SPDS can be used throughout Florida. This uniform solution is called the Solar Plans Design System (SPDS). This system will help decrease engineering design costs and the time required for design review, thus accelerating the permitting process.
Click on SPDS to see how it works. Send your feedback to email@example.com.
HB 1021 Amends the Solar Energy Standards Act of 1976
The Solar Energy Standards Act of 1976 directed the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to establish standards for solar energy systems sold or manufactured in the State of Florida. In 1978 this legislation was amended to require that all solar energy systems sold or manufactured in the State of Florida must be certified by FSEC to meet these standards. House Bill 1021 does not change FSEC’s role to establish standards and certification of systems, however it does provide an exception allowing for system certification by a Florida Licensed Professional Engineer “pursuant to ch. 471 using the standards contained in the most recent version of the Florida Building Code.” For more information click on the following FAQ document link written by FSEC.
HB 1021 FAQ
Neighbors and businesses in Broward formed two solar co-ops to save money and make going solar easier while building a network of solar supporters. The East Broward Solar Co-op was for residents who live east of US 441. The West Broward Solar Co-op was for residents living west of US 441. Their goals was to save money and making installation of rooftop solar energy as simple as possible. Broward County teamed up with FL SUN to make the co-ops happen.
Local non-profit FL SUN has helped hundreds of Florida homeowners go solar in the last two years. FL SUN expands access to solar by educating residents about the benefits of distributed solar energy. It also helps communities organize group solar installation and strenghtens Florida's solar policies and its community of solar supporters. Group purchasing can:
Save up to 20% off the cost of going solar.
Get help from the co-op throughout the process.
System sizes vary. You can size to fit your budget.
The East Broward Solar Co-op members selected SEM through competitive bidding processes to install the PV systems for the co-op members. The West Broward Solar Co-op members selected Guardian Solar. The participating homeowners worked with FL SUN to solicit competitive bids from a dozen solar installers on the group's behalf. The selection committees, made up of co-op members, chose installers they felt had the best experience, capacity and pricing to serve the group.
SEM and Guardian Solar will develop individualized proposal for East and West Broward Solar Co-op participants respectively. Co-op members will then review their proposal and sign a contract with their selected installer if they decide to go solar. A benefit of joining a co-op is that participants save on the cost of their system and get support of the group as they go through the process. The installer chosen by the group is able to order equipment in bulk and reduce travel and marketing costs, allowing them to pass significant savings on to the participants. Joining co-ops is a limited time offer. The Broward co-ops closed on April 28, 2017. At that time, 118 residents had joined the East Broward Solar Co-op and 76 had joined the West.
The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) has announced its Be Solar Smart Checklist, which the organization says offers a step-by-step guide to help consumers through the complex process of going solar. It is part of a newly released consumer tool trio that also includes a Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights and a Consumer Resources link list.
If you’re a consumer considering solar energy, IREC’s Be Solar Smart Consumer Checklist walks you through getting solar panels on the roof and protecting the investment that puts them there. It offers a step-by-step guide to simplify the complicated. It gives you questions to ask and facts to consider to secure a safe installation and a fair deal.
IREC’s Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights to guide practices and protective measures we should all expect — regarding safety, warranties, contractual transparency, advertising and privacy.
Financing Strategies for Installing Solar Panels on Your Home or Business
A webinar was held on March 16, 2016 and sponsored by the US Department of Energy as part of their SunShot program and by Broward County to inform participants on tools available to finance installation of solar. The presentation is available here. For additional information, go to Go Solar Florida Calendar web page and select the date of 3-16-16.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) programs can be an effective financing tool for local governments to fund energy efficiency and storm hardening. It reduces major barriers in upfront costs for clean energy. PACE Programs can be funded through bonds, private capital, general revenue, and other sources. Property owners repay the debt on the bond in fixed payments as a “special assessment” that is part of the property tax bill.
Broward County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously on October 8, 2013 to establish a commercial and residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. The County received permission to engage vendors to administer the programs which will be available once Broward County enters into these agreements in about six months.
Broward County has taken significant steps towards establishing a PACE program, but it is not yet operational. The Broward County Commission directed staff to negotiate with two third-party administrators to offer PACE financing within the County. If PACE financing is approved by the Board of County Commissioners, property owners will be able to assess both administrators’ offerings and select the financing arrangement that suits them best
In October 2014, the Florida Bankers Association filed a lawsuit asserting that the Florida Property Assessed Clean Energy Act unconstitutionally allows PACE special assessments to take priority over other property liens, such as mortgage loans. On October 22, 2015, the Florida Supreme Court decision could clear the way for PACE in Broward County.
This report seeks to explore and explain a variety of financing options for all levels of governments, as well as homeowners and businesses, but it focuses primarily on actions local governments can take under existing state and federal law. Although it is hoped that local governments, the Florida Legislature, homeowners, and businesses will choose to employ some of these strategies to expand solar PV energy in Florida, this Plan does not take a position on which options are best. More...
Broward County is working to increase rooftop solar photovoltaic installations throughout the State of Florida. Accordingly, Power Purchase Agreements and the retention of net metering are important issues within the state that may have an impact on solar in the future. This discussion may help you to understand this complicated issue.
Solar Talking Points
This Charter Document, a living document that will be revised as necessary to track program changes, provides a brief synopsis of the Go Solar – Florida project, identifies key players, and summarizes key partner responsibilities.