Solar in Miami Beach
Summary of links
The City of Miami Beach is currently working with a SolSmart Advisor to achieve the SolSmart Gold Designation. SolSmart is a new national technical assistance and designation program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, 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.
If you are considering a solar energy project (residential or commercial), please read more about the resources and services available by clicking through this page.
One option available for residents in Miami Beach to finance their solar installation is Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE).
To learn more about the PACE programs available to Miami Beach residents, click here.
Summary of links
- ASSESS YOUR NEEDS
Define the amount of electricity used in your home or building by looking at your electric bills over a period of time.
Consider implementing potential energy conservation projects such as installing a programmable thermostat and replacing traditional light bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs. Saving energy is the first step in reducing your carbon footprint. Implementing energy conservation measures first can help to reduce the size of the solar photovoltaic (PV) system needed.
There are many free online resources available such as EnergySage and Google Project Sunroof that can help you calculate the feasibility and return on investment (ROI) of solar panels for your rooftop.
Prepare a budget for your project and locate any available incentives. Search the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) for any available state and federal programs and incentives.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program is one financing option. There are four PACE program providers in place in Miami Beach. Renewable energy is one type of project that is eligible to be financed through PACE.
- SHOP AROUND AND SELECT A CONTRACTOR
Check out EnergySage to get quotes from multiple pre-screened installers and compare those quotes.
An Electrical Contractor or a Solar Contractor will need to pull the solar PV permit. The sub-trades may be needed for the connection to the electrical panel, water heater, pool heater, etc.
Once you have identified a contractor, you may verify a contractor’s license by going to www.myfloridalicense.com and searching by name, license number, city/county, and/or license type.
Your contractor can help you determine the appropriate size for your solar PV system and will design your solar PV system according to your specifications.
- SITE ASSESSMENT
The contractor will perform a site assessment to examine your roof and surrounding area.
- CONTRACTOR OBTAINS PERMITS FROM CITY
It’s easy to get solar permitted in Miami Beach. Miami Beach provides expedited permitting and waives the building permit fee and Land Use Board review fees for solar PV systems. Solar PV permits can be walked-through for review in a one day process.
Once you sign a contract with your contractor, they will need to obtain permits for the project(s).Depending on the type of solar project that is being permitted sub-permits may be needed including electrical or plumbing. A different building permit will also be needed if replacing or repairing the roof.
Residential projects are typically reviewed by Planning, Electrical, Structural, Plumbing and Building. Commercial projects are reviewed by Planning, Electrical, Structural, Plumbing, Building, Fire, and Public Works. The Building permit fee and Land Use Board review fee are waived for solar PV systems.
- INSTALL SOLAR SYSTEM
Once the permits are approved, the contractor can install your solar system.
An in-progress inspection and a final inspection are required for all of the following trades: Building, Roofing, Electrical and Plumbing. Only a Final inspection is required for Planning. The sub-contractors all must be in “Final” status prior to calling the Building Final inspection.
- FPL INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT
Sign an interconnection agreement with FPL to participate in their net-metering program.
Below are links to checklists and documents to help you through the permitting process for installing solar energy:
Still have questions? Call 305-673-7610 for permitting questions or for inspection questions.
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 area solar installers in order to secure the best price, and ensure a quality product.
One organization working in South Florida to help establish solar coops is Solar United Neighbors.
Summary of links
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: Title XI 163.04
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 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.