If you’re considering going solar in Florida, you’ll be pleased to know that the Sunshine State is ranked third, just behind California and Texas, in terms of solar-friendly states. Not only does Florida boast abundant sunlight, but it also offers homeowners a variety of financial incentives to help them produce their own energy.
However, the average cost of solar panels in Florida is quite high, sitting at $29,095 before the federal tax credit. This price tag may seem daunting to some homeowners, but it’s important to consider the many factors that can impact the value of solar energy for your specific home in Florida. Despite the upfront cost, many residents find that going solar is ultimately a worthwhile investment.
To help you make an informed decision about going solar in Florida, it’s worth conducting an in-depth price assessment. This can help you understand the various factors that affect the value of solar energy in Florida and identify incentives that may be available to lower installation costs. One of the biggest benefits of going solar in Florida is the abundant sunshine, which can significantly reduce your reliance on traditional power sources. Additionally, equipment costs are often lower in Florida than in other parts of the country, making it an attractive option for homeowners looking to reduce their energy bills and carbon footprint.
How Can You Determine if Solar Panels Are Worth It in Florida?
Although solar is an attractive investment for most Floridians, it is not the right choice for all. Before you decide to install solar panels in your home, there are many factors that you need to consider. These are some questions you should ask:
- Energy use in your home
- Cost of going solar
- Florida’s average payback period
- Florida’s average buy-back rates
- The sun’s exposure to your roof
- Florida’s climate for solar energy
Your Home’s Electricity Consumption
The main factor that determines the size of your solar panel system is your monthly energy consumption. To offset electricity rates, the size of your solar energy system will depend on how much energy you use. In Florida, the average monthly energy consumption is 1,142 kWh. In order for solar panels to be cost-effective, you should consume at least 500 kWh per month. You can review your past electricity bills to determine if solar panels are a good fit for your home.
Cost of Solar Energy in Florida
The average cost of solar in Florida is around $2.53 per watts, which is $0.13 less than the national average. To offset their electric rates, most homeowners require an 11.5-kilowatt solar power source. This means that they will pay approximately $29,095 in Florida for panels, or $20,366 after applying the 30% federal tax credit. Although solar panels are an expensive investment, they can often be paid for over time, especially in areas with high electricity rates or consumption.
While Florida residents pay an average electricity price, they tend to use more energy than the average American. The average energy consumption in the US is 893kWh per month, whereas Florida’s average is 1,142kWh. As a result, Florida homeowners can expect to see higher long-term savings than those in most other states.
Average Solar Payback Period in Florida
Except for lease agreements or power purchase agreements, solar panels almost always pay for themselves over time. The solar panel payback time is the amount of time required for panels to start producing pure savings and pay for themselves. Calculating your payback period can help you determine your long-term savings and the value of solar panels for your home.
In Florida, if you purchase solar panels in cash, you’ll likely find them paying off in as little as 13 years, though it could take anywhere from 10 to 16 years. To estimate your payoff period accurately, it’s best to use a solar calculator or hire a reliable solar installer. If your payoff period exceeds 16 years, it will take longer to start seeing savings.
Comparatively, the average US payoff period is 12 years, with most systems being paid for in 9 to 15 years. So, while the payback period for solar panels in Florida may be slightly longer than the national average, the state’s abundant sunshine and higher energy consumption rates mean that homeowners can still expect to see significant long-term savings.
Florida’s Average Solar Buyback Rates
Most states have a form of net metering policy or electricity buy-back program that allows you to produce more energy than you need and route it to the grid. In return, you receive energy bill credits, which can be used to offset the cost of the energy you draw from the grid.
Florida’s net metering program is excellent, allowing you to earn more than what you pay. In some cases, your utility company may even pay you, instead of the other way around. However, different utility companies have varying buy-back rates, so it’s essential to check before signing any agreements.
To reduce the chances of paying high energy bills, consider adding a solar panel to your existing system if your electricity provider credits excess power at rates lower than the retail rate. This way, you can maximize your energy production and earn the highest possible credits.
Your Roof’s Sun Exposure
Solar panels generate electricity by harnessing the power of sunlight. The more sunlight your roof receives, the more efficient your panels will be.
Florida, also known as the Sunshine State, is an excellent location for solar panel installation, with homeowners enjoying an impressive 237 sunny days each year. This is significantly higher than the national average of 205 days, making solar panels a worthwhile investment for most homes in Florida.
However, several individual factors should be considered. Even if your home is located in Florida, panels that do not receive enough sunlight will be less efficient. It’s also essential to consider the direction your roof faces since south- and west-facing roofs receive the most sunlight, increasing the likelihood of solar panels being a valuable investment.
Climate for Solar in Florida
Florida’s abundant and intense sunlight makes it an ideal location for maximizing solar panel efficiency. However, the state is also prone to tropical storms and hurricanes, which can result in fallen trees and limbs damaging solar panels.
Despite this, Florida is one of the most solar-friendly states in the country. The popularity of residential solar panels is increasing, and utility-scale solar projects are becoming more common. Florida also ranks fifth in terms of solar industry growth and has the fifth-highest percentage of solar workers in the nation.
What Are the Main Benefits of Going Solar in Florida?
Although solar panels are expensive in Florida, most homeowners find the cost worth it. Here are some of the potential financial and environmental benefits that you will enjoy when you go solar in Florida.
- Electricity bill savings
- Access to other incentives and lower taxes
- Home values rise
Electricity Bill Savings
One of the most important benefits of going solar in Florida is the estimated savings homeowners will see on their electric bills.
Floridians consume more energy than residents of other states, and they pay an average of $128.64 per month for electricity. With rising electricity rates, converting to solar can be a viable option to lock in your energy costs and prevent them from increasing in the future.
Net metering and conversion to solar can reduce your monthly bill significantly, and you could even end up paying $0 per month. Over the lifetime of their solar panels, an average Florida homeowner can save $21,632 on energy bills.
If you are serviced by Florida Power & Light and Duke Energy, which have the best net metering systems in the state, you may even get paid by your electricity provider, allowing you to save even more.
Access to Other Incentives and Lower Taxes
Even if you have to pay the full price, going solar is usually worth it. However, there are solar incentives offered by both the federal and state governments that make solar conversion even more attractive.
The federal solar investment credit (ITC) is one of the largest solar tax incentives. It is 30% of the total price of your system and is credited to your federal income tax liability. The average ITC in Florida is $8,728.
Other incentives in Florida include an excellent net metering policy, sales tax exemption on photovoltaic equipment, property tax exemption on your property’s solar PV system value, as well as some local incentives from utility companies.
The Home Resale Value Has Risen
Many homeowners are unaware that solar panels can increase property value significantly.
According to research by Zillow, the average home’s value increases by 4.1% after installing solar panels. In Florida, where the average home value is $356,349, this means an average jump of approximately $14,610. Homeowners in areas like Tampa and Orlando may even see a bigger increase in their property values.
Moreover, Florida has a statewide exemption from property taxes, meaning that installing solar panels will not cause your property taxes to increase, despite the rise in assessed values.
Clean, Renewable Energy
Going solar is more than just a cost-saving move. You can reduce your dependence on fossil fuels by switching to clean energy. This contributes to a cleaner environment, less pollution, and counteracts global warming. Your electric company will also be less dependent, so you won’t be affected by future spikes in electricity rates.
What Should Floridians Be Aware of When Considering Solar?
Before you decide that going solar is right for you, there are a few things to keep in mind. Below are some important points to keep in mind.
- Fees upfront
- Periods of payback
- Net metering policies
- Outlook on incentives and policies for solar energy
- Weather and climate
- Companies that offer financing options
Due to the high cost of solar panels in Florida, it can be a challenge for many people to afford them. The final price will depend on the size of your system. However, you can reduce the initial cost by opting for more affordable panels and limiting the additional equipment you choose, such as solar batteries or electric vehicle chargers.
You should also consider the payback period for your solar panels. While you will see monthly savings in your energy bills, it will take some time for the system to pay for itself. In Florida, homeowners typically pay off their panel payments in 13 years, with most cases ranging from 10 to 16 years. If your payback period is longer than 16 years, your return on investment (ROI) will be lower and it will take longer for you to realize actual savings.
Florida Net Metering Policies
Florida’s current law requires net metering, but it does not set a standard rate for utility companies to buy back excess energy. The policy may vary between providers, so be sure to check with yours before making any commitments.
If your electric company offers a lower rate for buying back electricity than the retail rate, you can pair your panels with a battery storage solution to offset your electric bills and reduce your overall costs. However, the net metering policy is not a major factor for most Florida homeowners.
Pending Policies and Changes to Incentive Programs
The solar industry is rapidly growing and improving, especially in Florida, where the SEIA ranks it as the fifth most developed state for solar industry expansion. As a result, incentives and policies can change quickly.
While it’s not wise to wait for better incentives, it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date on any updates to policies, tax credits, and additional rebates before making the decision to convert to solar.
Florida Weather and Climate
Solar panels are most effective when exposed to intense sunlight, which means they work best in areas closer to the Equator. Florida is the only state in the country that receives more sunlight.
While a rare rainstorm or cloudy day could cause your panels to lose efficiency, Florida receives enough sunshine to make solar conversion worthwhile for most homeowners. In fact, your panels’ efficiency can be maximized if rain is allowed to collect during hurricanes or tropical storms.
Companies Pushing Solar Leases and PPAs
It’s important to be cautious of untrustworthy solar companies, which unfortunately are quite common in Florida due to the growing demand for panels. These companies may advertise free panels that aren’t actually free or push leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) that don’t benefit homeowners.
Leasing or entering a PPA won’t increase your home’s value, won’t allow you to take advantage of the federal tax credit, and may end up being much more expensive over the long term, resulting in fewer savings for you. In fact, untrustworthy installers have been known to perpetrate solar panel scams, leaving homeowners with huge installation bills and no savings.
To ensure a positive experience, it’s crucial to only hire a reliable and verified solar installer like ESD Solar. Contact us now for a FREE solar estimate!
Is Solar Worth It for Your Florida Home?
Despite having a lower-than-average price for solar equipment, the majority of Florida residents believe that solar energy is worth the investment. A survey of 1,000 homeowners in the U.S. revealed that Florida and Texas had the highest percentage of people who wanted to install solar panels in their homes.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that solar energy is the right or affordable choice for everyone. It’s important to calculate upfront costs and payback periods for solar panels and take into account factors such as your monthly energy consumption and roof orientation to determine if solar energy is the right choice for your home.
Once you’ve determined that solar is right for you, it’s important to consider the total cost of your system, including equipment, installation, and other factors. To find out how solar panels can save you money and if they’re a good fit for your home, we recommend contacting a reliable solar installer in your local area.
If you’re looking for a reliable solar installer in Florida, ESD Solar is here to help. With years of experience in the solar industry, ESD Solar offers customized solutions for homeowners looking to make the switch to clean energy. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can help you save money while reducing your carbon footprint.