City of Tampa hopes to save millions with new federal tax credits to go green

Democrats say the new Inflation Reduction Act puts the U.S. on pace to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, and it does so by offering significant tax rebates and discounts for those who make the switch to green energy.

The savings for individuals purchasing big-ticket green energy items could be significant. Tax credits and upfront discounts include 30% of the cost of rooftop solar panel installation, $7,500 for the purchase of a new electric vehicle, $840 for a new electric stove, and between $1,200 and $8,000 for certain heat pump home appliances.

"It could be in the thousands of dollars if you are going to use the clean vehicle tax credits, if you're going to upgrade your appliances in your homes, if you're going to put solar panels on your buildings," said Representative Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) during a roundtable with Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Bay Area business and energy executives.  

For businesses and local governments, the savings could be in the millions. The city of Tampa, which already has plans to add solar panels to its government buildings, could see six-figure savings on several of its solar projects.

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"We had already factored in a solar array to power [the new city center] and now being able to get that 30% tax credit is going to be well over $1 million that we will be able to save for our community," said Mayor Castor.

The shift to solar is already well underway for TECO, Tampa's biggest energy supplier.

"Right now, solar power accounts for about 10% of the energy that we produce and by the end of next year, it will be up to 14%. That’s the highest percent of solar power of any utility in Florida," said Tampa Electric spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs. "That's about 900 MW of solar power, which is enough power to power 140,000 homes and at the end of next year will be up to 200,000 homes with more to come."

The company is working towards a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. To get there, they've cut coal usage.

"Since 2000, Tampa Electric has reduced our use of coal by more than 90%, and we’ve reduced our carbon footprint by half," said Jacobs. "That is at the same time that energy demand has grown by 25%, so we’re producing even more power with less emissions."

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Currently, TECO's fuel mix is a little more than 80% natural gas, Jacobs said. While cleaner burning than coal, TECO plans to continue expanding its solar usage and ween itself away from fossil fuels.

By tapping into a free, renewable, and abundant natural resource in the Sunshine State, Jacobs said they'll be able to lower energy costs for everyone.

"In this year alone, our customers are expected to save more than $100 million in fuel costs because of our investment in solar and that will just get better," said Jacobs.

You can use this calculator to find out more about tax credits and rebates available to you through the Inflation Reduction Act: