HB 277 in the 2013 Legislative Session added Section 193.624, Florida Statutes to read:
Florida provides a property tax exemption for residential photovoltaic systems, wind energy systems, solar water heaters, and geothermal heat pumps installed on or after January 1, 2013. For the purpose of assessing property taxes for a home, an increase in the just value of the property attributable to the installation of this equipment should be ignored. The exemption applies to the following types of equipment used as part of a solar, wind or geothermal system:
- Solar energy collectors, photovoltaic modules, and inverters.
- Storage tanks and other storage systems, excluding swimming pools used as storage tanks.
- Thermostats and other control devices.
- Heat exchange devices.
- Pumps and fans.
- Roof ponds.
- Freestanding thermal containers.
- Pipes, ducts, refrigerant handling systems, and other equipment used to interconnect such systems; however, such equipment does not include conventional backup systems of any type
- Windmills and wind turbines.
- Wind-driven generators.
- Power conditioning and storage devices that use wind energy to generate electricity or mechanical forms of energy.
- Pipes and other equipment used to transmit hot geothermal water to a dwelling or structure from a geothermal deposit.
This exemption applies to assessments beginning January 1, 2014, and for equipment installed on or after January 1, 2013.
There is no property tax exclusion in law for commercial property, but in practice solar panels are not included by county property appraisers in the assessed value of the property. In 2014 a bill to match the residential exclusion for commercial properties was squashed by Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne. There is a bill proposed in the 2015 session that would grant this exclusion by law, and it is promising that it will pass.
That said, animals need to get on the roof in the first place to cause any damage. Keeping trees trimmed and away from the house will service to reduce the possibility of animals being near solar panels.
- The size of your pool (surface area)
- The orientation of the panels
- Your desired swimming season
- Desired temperature and heating speed
- Available roof space
A thorough discussion with a solar pool heating professional will provide the best answers, but obviously more is better. Most people settle on a system that has a total area that is 80-100% of the surface area of their pool.