The Democrats' highly-anticipated climate, tax, and health care bill, the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to get passed by the House of Representatives on Friday. This historic legislation has many energy efficiency incentives for taxpayers. The bill includes tax credits for people who purchase clean vehicles and residential solar projects.
Roughly 4% of homes in the U.S. use residential solar systems. Residential solar accounted for roughly 54% of all new "electricity-generating capacity" added in the U.S. for the first three quarters of 2021, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade association.
Floridians are joining in as well. Doug Nelson of Hillsborough County said he is in the final stages of having his new solar panels power his Florida home. His panels cover about 800 square feet of his roof and is a project he says he's been eager to get done for years.
"It's pretty handsome. It turned out better than I thought," Nelson told Spectrum News.
Nelson said he has a "lifelong" interest in solar power and as a kid, he "won a science fair with a solar-powered doghouse." He mentioned that he was a child of the "'70s oil crisis."
He says he finally decided to go solar because a federal tax credit of 26% was scheduled to expire at the end of next year. It is an incentive that will translate into a savings of roughly $6,000. The Democrats’ climate, health care, and tax bill nearing approval in Congress would increase the tax credit to 30% and extend it beyond 2023.
"Even more Americans will be motivated to install solar panel systems for their homes," White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy told Spectrum News.
More than 1.1 million additional rooftop and solar panels will be installed due to the solar tax credits in this bill, the White House says, just in Florida alone.
Nelson worked with the non-profit Solar United Neighbors to get a better price on the equipment and some education. The organization says on average Florida home installs can range from about $7,000 to $20,000 before tax credits and local incentives.
Solar United Neighbors says the national average number of solar panels on a home is about 15 to 17, but that depends on the home size, electricity use, and geography.
Nelson estimates his system will save him about $120 in utility costs monthly, and that the project will pay for itself in 10 years.
He also says he wants an electric vehicle for his family fleet, a return on investment he says will happen even faster.