A couple of years ago we had a thriving Florida state incentive program that paid $4 per watt to buyers of solar electric systems in the form of a rebate. At the time, that covered between 40% and 50% of the cost to install solar electric for your home or business. Two things happened with the rebate program: the incentive was shut down due to lack of funding/desire by legislators to spend taxpayer money, and the existing rebate applicants were hung out to dry, many collecting only 52 cents on the dollar. That was the end of state rebates for Florida property owners.
So why should you buy solar electric now in Florida without a state rebate?
Fast forward two years to the beginning of 2012. The bottom dropped out of the Photovoltaic panel market, with wholesale prices dropping by over 75%. This resulted in almost a $4 per watt decrease in wholesale price for a big part of the cost to install solar electric. Other fixed and variable costs remained the same or decreased slightly. Today, solar electric systems are sold for almost $4 less at the retail level.
In short, if you were lucky enough to get the state rebate, you would have paid about the same two years ago with a state rebate as you will pay today without a state rebate. If you had purchased two years ago and not received all of your rebate money like thousands of Floridians, you would be better off buying today to the tune of $2 per watt. That’s about $10,000 on a typical household system!
The point is that now there is no risk of failed rebate programs and legislative nonsense. Prices today are lower at regular retail rates, and you are no worse off than someone who purchased a couple of years ago with a promise of a fat rebate from the State of Florida that never came through.
So the next time someone asks me, “what incentives are available,” I can respond that they are no longer necessary to make solar energy economically viable!