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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 has been to develop a web-based, uniform source of structural and electrical design plans for use 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.
While not yet finalized, you can check out the beta version of the SPDS and give us your feedback. Please realize this is a work in progress undergoing continuous improvement so that the final result will be a code compliant set of plans. Click on SPDS to see how it works. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. A final version will be released soon, visit this Go SOLAR Florida website for updates.
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.
On April 23 2015, the Florida Public Service Commission requested comments from all interested parties regarding enhancing development of solar technologies in Florida. The response from Alachua and Broward County is below.
Alachua - Broward County Solar PSC Comments (PDF-173KB)
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.