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Solar Energy in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach has established a greenhouse gas reduction goal of “net zero emissions by 2050” and has identified key reduction strategies including solar energy. Mayor Muoio has also committed to “Mayors for 100% Renewable Energy,” a Conference of Mayors resolution to move to 100% renewables. As of 2016, there are 1254 kilowatts (KW) of solar energy installations community-wide.
Mayors for 100% Renewable Energy
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategies
Sustainability Action Plan
In an effort to lead by example, the City has installed a 17 KW rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) panel on its Waterfront Lake Pavilion, pictured right, to generate a portion of energy use from solar. Additionally, the City has installed a "solar trellis" system adjacent to the Lake Pavilion, with another 25 KW of potential solar energy.
Additionally, the City is participating in SolSmart, a new national designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative. The program is designed to recognize 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. In January 2018, the City of West Palm Beach received a SolSmart Gold designation, which is the highest ranking designation. A Gold designation signifies a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging solar energy usage, while breaking down barriers normally associated with solar panel permitting and installation.
Interested in a solar energy project for your home or business? Continue reading for how to finance a solar energy installation and hot to apply for your permit!
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE)
What is 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 efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects (and in the State of Florida, also wind hardening). 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 (sidewalks, sewers) have been for decades. PACE can be used for commercial and residential properties. While the City lists the following PACE providers, it is up to the property owner to contact the providers to find which one is best suited for the potential project. Call or click on the logos below to contact the providers directly:
[Residential Branch]: (855) 509-9922
[Commercial Branch]: (855) 431-4400
Neighborhood Solar Co-op Program
On November 1, 2017, Solar United Neighbors of Florida
and the League of Women Voters of Florida launched a solar co-op in Palm Beach County. West Palm Beach homeowners are eligible to participate.
What is a 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 photovoltaic (PV) systems. They use free-market principles to solicit competitive bids from area solar installers in order to secure the best price, and ensure a quality product.
These discounts are usually 10% to 20% below local market prices on solar PV installations. Co-op members select one installer. Co-op members are not obligated to sign a contract submitted by the co-op’s chosen installer.
The Co-op closes on February 2nd, 2018.
Incentives for Solar
The Department of Housing and Community Development will ensure that funding priority and consideration will be given to housing construction projects that include “green” or sustainable features such as solar panels, rain water capture and storage, tank-less water heaters, high efficiently insulation and architectural features that enhance energy savings.
Click these links to find out about any additional applicable rebates or programs to make your solar more affordable:
City or State Incentives for Solar
Federal Tax Incentives for Solar
Permitting Solar Projects
Do you need a permit or to schedule an inspection? Please click on the link below outlining our permitting process and inspection requirements as well as a downloadable permit. For any additional questions please call our permitting department at 561-805-6700
1) PV Expedited Permit Checklist
To check the status of your permit application, visit eGovPlus
- Enter permit number and click ‘Search’
- Click on the underlined permit number.
- Click ‘More Information’
- For plan review status, click ‘Plan Reviews’
Florida Solar Laws
Florida law forbids any entity- including homeowner associations- from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings, though there may be certain minimal restrictions.*
"Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited." Title XI 163.04
*Historic District – see Chapter VIII (Design Guidelines) of the City’s Historic Preservation Plan
, which states that “solar collectors should be inconspicuous from the public right-of-way and should not damage or obscure character-defining features.”
What is Net Metering?
In Florida, net metering rules were adopted in 2008. Net metering allows utility customers who connect approved, renewable generation systems – such as solar photovoltaic system – to the electric grid to sell electricity back to the utility company up to 2MW.
When customers generate electricity from their solar array for their home or business it can 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.
Title XXVII 366.91
Solar PV is new to many of our city’s residents. Please click on links below which can help you make informed solar PV purchasing decision.
IREC Clean Energy Bill of Rights
SEIA Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power