Do I have to put any money down to get solar panels for my home?
No, there are zero upfront costs. If you can afford your electric bill, you can afford solar. We simply swap your electric bill with a fixed payment plan that goes towards the ownership of your equipment.
What is net metering?
Net metering (also known as net energy metering, or NEM) is a solar incentive that allows you to store energy in the electric grid. When your solar panels produce excess power, that energy is sent to the grid and in exchange, you can pull from the grid when your system is under-producing, for example during nighttime hours.
With the right sized home solar energy system, you can produce enough electricity to match what your home needs for the entire year. However, the amount of electricity your solar panels produce will vary throughout the year. Net metering helps you cover these differences by crediting the excess electricity your panels produce, so you can use it later.
Do I need HOA approvals to install solar panels on my home?
Florida law forbids any entity—including homeowner associations—from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings. An association may require approval of a system installation and may establish restrictions for installations. However, any such restrictions must be reasonable, not arbitrary, and applied in a uniform manner for all association members. Also, any restrictions must not have the effect of impairing the performance, or increasing the cost, of a solar system.
In particular, a homeowner association may not prevent the installation of solar collectors on the roof of a home. The association may determine where on the roof the collectors may be installed, so long as the collectors face within 45 degrees of due south.
Finally, any requirement(s) that a system be screened from view by trees, fences, ground mounting racks, or a remote roof location that is hidden from the street, will generally violate the statute.
Do I need batteries for solar power?
No! The state of Florida is a “grid-tied” state, meaning you must still be hooked up to the utility grid, so there is no need for batteries.
Does solar work in a power outage?
There are two reasons that ordinary grid-tied solar will not work during a grid failure. The first is a technical reason and the second is a safety and regulatory issue.
First and foremost is the technical reason. The electronics that control a solar electric system constantly adjust voltage and current in order to keep the panels operating at their most efficient and powerful operating point through a range of varying sunlight conditions. To do this, the system needs to be able to produce quantities of power that are not dependent on how much your house is actually using at the time. In a grid-connected system, that excess power is put back onto the grid for others to use, and your utility credits you on your bill for that power.
The second reason that solar shuts down during a blackout is safety.
During a power outage, the power utility sends out repair crews to find and fix the points of failure. The linemen and women can be jeopardized if there is a local power generator (like a solar array) sending power onto the grid lines. Therefore, utility rules mandate that in the event of a power outage, solar arrays must automatically shut down. Solar systems have detectors that sense whether power is coming across the grid, and whenever grid power is down, they automatically shut down too, to protect utility workers.
However, with new technology there are options that could provide a limited amount of power during daylight hours. Our energy consultants can go over these options with you.
Is solar worth the money?
- In the long run, solar power is economical. Solar panels and installation involve high initial expenses, but this cost is soon offset by savings on energy bills.
- Solar can increase the value of your home.
- With a grid connection and net-metering rules, your solar power system can generate clean energy and share it with the grid.
- Federal tax credits can offset 30% of your investment through 2019, 26% through 2020 and 22% through 2021. As of now, the Federal Government has not extended the tax credit for residential.https://www.seia.org/initiatives/solar-investment-tax-credit-itc
- Solar energy systems are safe, reliable, and durable—the panels are warranted for 25 years.
Once your initial investment in solar is paid off, the fuel is free. With fossil fuel costs and utility rates predicted to rise, solar can be a good way to lock in long-term savings now.
How Does The Solar Tax Credit Work
A tax credit is a reduction in the amount of taxes you owe. The typical homeowner that goes solar with Mosaic pays about $30,000 for a 7-kilowatt solar installation. So, in this example, the 26% federal tax credit could reduce your taxes by $7,800 – quite a nice bonus! Taking advantage of this credit is easy as A-B-C, if you know the eligibility requirements and how to claim it.
KEEP IN MIND: We’re solar people, not tax people, so we don’t give tax advice. Anything you read on this page is merely an example and may not be appropriate for your unique financial situation. Not everyone will be eligible, so please consult a tax professional before filing your tax credit.
Tax Credit Eligibility
To qualify for the 26% federal tax credit, you must meet all of the following requirements:
- Your system must be installed by December 31, 2020.
- You must own your home (renters are excluded, unfortunately).
- Your Federal Tax liability must be sufficient to qualify for the 26% tax credit.
- You must own your solar panels.
This last point isn’t quite as obvious as it might seem since many homeowners today actually lease their solar systems through third-party companies. While leasing may make sense in some situations, it means that the leasing company gets to claim the tax credit instead of you! By contrast, homeowners that buy their panels outright or finance them with a loan (from Sungage, for example) do get to claim the tax credit.
Tax Credit Versus Rebate
It’s important to understand that this is a tax credit and not a rebate. Tax credits offset the balance of tax due to the government (therefore, if you pay no tax, there is nothing to offset and you can’t take advantage of it). Tax rebates are payable to the taxpayer even if they pay no tax. While most people qualify for the federal tax credit, there are some who do not. Anyone who does not pay federal income taxes will not be able to benefit from the tax credit. And, if you’re on a fixed income, retired, or only worked part of the year, you may not pay enough taxes to take full advantage of this credit.
If you do pay sufficient federal taxes the year that you finance or purchase your system, then the credit can be applied to pay off the taxes paid. If you already paid taxes by withholding them from your paycheck, the federal government will apply the tax credit to a tax refund. This refund can be used to pay down the balance on a Mosaic loan. It’s important to note that the tax credit can be carried forward one year, which means that you can use any remainder from this year as a credit towards next year’s taxes.
Homeowner #1 buys a $30,000 solar system, meaning they are eligible for a $7,800 tax credit (26% of system costs). Through their employment, they pay the government $7,800 in taxes, but this is withheld on their W-9 so they end up paying nothing when they file. In this example, when the federal tax credit is applied to the $0 balance they pay the government, they receive a tax REFUND of $7,800 that they can then apply to their loan – or keep if they choose.
Homeowner #2 also buys a $30,000 solar system but they only pay the federal government $4,500 in taxes because they were on a fixed income. This customer did not withhold any money from their paychecks and pays the full $4,500 when they file. When the $7,800 tax credit is applied, they can only claim $4,500 of it because they only paid that much in taxes. In this example, the customer does not have to pay any taxes that year but they also will not receive a refund check from the IRS.
The upside is that any remaining tax credit can be carried forward and applied to next year’s taxes. In this scenario, if Homeowner #2 pays the government at least $3,300 in taxes for the following year, they can utilize the rest of the credit.