Solar Energy in Palm Beach County
Palm Beach County is committed to facilitating clean energy investments for its residents and businesses. As of December 2018, Palm Beach County has permitted 887 separate solar installations community-wide.
As of March 2020, the County is recognized as a SolSmart Gold community. SolSmart is a national technical assistance and designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, that recognizes communities that have taken key steps to address local barriers to solar energy and foster the growth of mature local solar markets. The SolSmart program seeks to address "solar soft costs," or business process or administrative costs that can increase the time and money it takes to install a solar energy system.
If you are considering a solar energy project (residential or commercial), please read more about the resources and services available below.
Permitting Solar Projects
Do you need to apply for a permit, get an update on your permit, schedule an inspection, or estimate fees? Click here.
An expedited solar PV permit application can be found here.
Still have questions? Call 561-233-5120 for the Permit Center, 561-355-2222 for automated inspection scheduling, or 561-233-5170 to schedule an inspection manually.
Florida Solar Laws
Florida Title XI 163.04 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.
What is Net Metering?
Florida adopted net metering rules in 2008 though Title XXVII 366.91. Net metering allows utility customers who connect approved, renewable generation systems—such as solar photovoltaic systems—to the electric grid to sell up to 2 megawatts of electricity back to the utility company. When customers generate electricity from their solar array for their home or business, it may reduce the amount of energy they need to purchase from the utility and may lower their monthly electricity bills. If their system produces more energy than they need, the excess power is sold back to the grid. That amount of energy is deducted from their monthly bill or credited toward a future bill in the same calendar year.
To be eligible, a home or business owner needs to apply with the utility company and have their electric meter replaced with one that measures excess power supplied to the grid.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is new to many of Palm Beach County's residents. The IREC Clean Energy Bill of Rights or SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power may help you make an informed solar PV purchasing decision.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing mechanism that operates through local providers in order to enable low-cost, long-term funding for energy conservation and efficiency improvement, renewable energy and wind mitigation projects. PACE financing is repaid as an assessment on the property's regular tax bill, and is processed the same way as other local public benefit assessments (e.g. sidewalks, sewers) have been for decades.
More information on the PACE program, including finance providers, can be found here.
Incentives for Solar
City and State Incentives for Solar
Federal Tax Incentives for Solar
Neighborhood Solar Co-op
A solar co-op is a group of homeowners that bundle their buying power to secure a volume discount on rooftop solar PV systems. They use free-market principles to solicit competitive bids from local solar installers to secure the best price and ensure a quality product.
Solar Unified Neighbors organizes solar co-ops in Florida. More information can be found here.