As many of you solar geeks out there probably know, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) recently launched a feed-in tariff, or FIT -- the first of its kind in the country. Generally speaking, FITs create two main benefits for solar buyers. First, they ensure that residents and businesses who go solar get paid a premium for all the electricity output from their solar PV system. This simple premise -- that each and every kWh generated will be purchased -- is linked to the second benefit: that of clarity. Unlike time of use schedules, or net excess generation purchasing at avoided-cost rates, the concept of a feed-in tariff is readily understood. For these reasons, FITs have been the policy tool of choice in Germany, for instance, a country that now leads the world in solar adoption rates.
With the new year comes revised tax rules for individuals who purchase PV solar systems. In short, the residential investment tax credit (ITC) is no longer constrained by a $2,000 cap. This means that buyers can take a credit worth the full 30 percent of final project costs, which includes the PV modules, mounts, wiring, the inverter and labor. In effect through the end of 2016, the new rules bring some certainty to the solar market -- and make it easier for buyers to finance the purchase of a PV system.