Going solar with Florida Power and Light (FPL)

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Image source: FPL

Florida Power and Light serves nearly half of the state’s residents. Chances are, you’re probably tired of giving FPL hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dollars a year just to keep your lights on.

By installing solar panels you can use less electricity from FPL and more of what you generated right on your own roof. Not only does that mean you’re less reliant on a huge utility, but you’re also paying them less money.

If you’re an FPL customer considering solar, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about going solar with FPL from how much installation costs to what incentives are available.

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    How much does a solar system cost in Florida?

    If you're looking to go solar, the first thing you probably want to know is "how much is it going to cost?". The average homeowner in the Sunshine State can expect to pay about $2.59 per watt of solar installed.

    In order to cover a monthly electric bill of $100, you’d need to install around 5.82 kilowatts (kW) of solar in Florida, which would cost about $15,074 before the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC), and $11,155 after.

    The following table outlines the average installation costs for different sized solar systems in Florida:

    Monthly bill System size* System cost before ITC System cost after ITC
    $80 4.55 kW $11,785 $8,721
    $100 5.82 kW $15,074 $11,155
    $150 8.42 kW $21,807 $16,137
    $200 11 kW $28,490 $21,083

    *Estimated system size needed to cover monthly bill

    The actual system size you need will depend on more than just your monthly bill. The location of your home, the utility rate schedule you have, the direction of your roof, and shading are all factors that can influence your home’s system size. You can use our solar panel calculator to get a better idea of what size solar system is right for you.

    Find out if going solar is worth it based on your location

    Does Florida Power and Light offer net metering?

    Yes, Florida Power and Light offers net metering, which is what lets you save big on your electric bill.

    How does FPL’s net metering program work?

    FPL has what is called a full retail net metering program for customers who go solar. With full retail net metering, every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy a solar panel produces will be worth the same amount of money that your utility charges you for electricity. Let’s say FPL charges $0.07 per kWh of electricity, every kWh of solar electricity would also be worth $0.07.

    Check out solar expert Will White explain net metering to get a better idea of how it works:

    When you’re approved for FPL’s net metering program, FPL installs something called a bi-directional meter at your house. The bi-directional meter tracks how much electricity you send and take from the grid, so you can be compensated for your solar energy.

    If your solar system produces more electricity than your home needs, the solar electricity will be sent to the grid, the bi-directional meter will spin backward, and you’ll receive a credit on your electric bill. These credits can then be used to offset the cost of electricity you use from the grid in the future.

    At the end of the month, FPL will net how much solar electricity you sent to the grid versus how much electricity you used from the grid to find your total bill. If you produced more electricity than you used from the grid, any excess net metering credits will carry over to the following month.

    Annual true-up

    FPL’s net metering program has an annual true-up in January. Sometimes, utility companies will use estimated numbers for your usage and production, instead of what is actually on your meter. The annual true-up adjusts for the differences between these estimated numbers and your actual consumption and production.

    If you have any excess net metering credits at the time of your true-up, FPL will pay you out at the “average annual cost of generation” per kWh. The annual cost of generation is substantially lower than the retail rate of electricity, usually between $0.02 and $0.03 per kWh for FPL. Then your net metering credit bank will be reset to zero.

    Minimum bill requirement

    It's important to keep in mind that your solar panels won't be able to cover all of your electric bills. FPL has a minimum bill requirement of $8.34 that cannot be offset, no matter how much solar electricity you produce. Depending on your rate schedule, there may be other charges that cannot be covered by your solar generation.

    Does FPL have any solar rebates or incentives?

    No, Florida Power and Light does not offer any rebates or incentives for homeowners going solar.

    However, Florida residents can still take advantage of the federal solar tax credit as long as they have a taxable income. The solar tax credit covers 26% of the costs of installing a solar system.

    Steps to going solar with Florida Power and Light

    Going solar isn’t as easy as installing solar panels and calling it a day. There’s quite a bit of work (and paperwork) that goes into getting a solar panel system up and running safely. A lot of what we’ll describe here will be handled by your solar installer, but it’s still good information to keep in the back of your mind during the solar process.

    1. Design the system and figure out what size you need. Your solar installer will be the one designing and sizing your system, but you need to know this information before you can start your installation. Your solar system cannot be expected to generate more than 115% of your historical annual electricity usage, as per FPL rules.
    2. Get pre-approved by FPL. Apply online for pre-approval with your FPL account number, taxpayer ID number, and equipment size.
    3. Start installation. Once FPL pre-approves your system, installation may begin.
    4. Sign the interconnection agreement. FPL's interconnection agreement is what lets you connect your solar panel system to the grid. It outlines the responsibilities of you and the utility and outlines certain equipment and standards the system must comply with.
    5. Inspection and permitting submission. Before your solar system can be turned on, it must meet any inspection and permitting requirements held by your municipality or county. All permits must be provided to FPL. Permitting and inspections can take anywhere from one to eight weeks, depending on the municipality, and will be handled by your installer.
    6. Install bi-directional meter. When FPL has received all of the proper documentation, they will alert you that your bi-directional meter has been ordered so your system can participate in the net metering program. FPL will install the meter.
    7. Permission to operate. After the meter has been installed, FPL will send you confirmation that you have permission to operate. Your system can be turned on and you can start reaping the benefits of solar!

    All-in-all you can expect your system to be up in running in a few weeks, granted you receive all of your approvals and permits in a timely manner. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.

    In fact, some solar installers have expressed frustrations with the permitting upload process, which only allows one image of the permit card to be uploaded, despite the fact that FPL requires information that is on both the front and the back of the permit card. It sounds silly, but these types of clerical issues can lead to substantial delays.

    Does FPL have a community solar program?

    The answer to this one is a bit tricky. FPL has two solar programs that don't require you to install solar panels on your roof, but they don't operate like a true community solar program. Aggregate community solar projects as we know them are illegal in the state of Florida, as state law prohibits any entity besides a utility from selling electricity.

    FPL SolarTogether Program

    SolarTogether is truly the wolf in sheep’s clothing of community solar programs. With the SolarTogether program, homeowners can opt into the program by paying a $6.76 subscription fee per kW of solar you want to “subscribe” to.

    In return for your subscription fee, you’ll be given energy credits on your bill for the solar energy your share of the solar system produces.

    With true community solar programs, homeowners will start to see savings on their electric bills immediately upon joining the program. SolarTogether, on the other hand, isn’t projected to provide you with electric bill savings until 5 years into the program, and you won’t break even until after year 7.

    FPL SolarNow Program

    The FPL SolarNow Program isn’t for people who want to see electric bill savings. It never reduces your electricity bill. The SolarNow Program is just for FPL customers who can’t or don’t want to install solar on their roof, but still want to support the development of solar energy.

    When you sign up for the SolarNow program, you pay $9 extra on your utility bill every month just to support the growth of renewable energy.

    Is going solar with FPL worth it?

    Yes, going solar with FPL is totally worth it. The cost of solar in Florida is a little bit lower than what you’ll pay in other states, plus the full retail net metering offered by FPL provides significant savings on your monthly electric bill.

    All of those savings add up - a 5.82 kW system installed in FPL’s territory is estimated to save you $17,148 over the lifetime of the system after the solar panels are paid off. Not bad if you ask us!

    But, those savings might not be around forever. Utilities all across the country are trying to, and some are succeeding at, eliminating net metering altogether. Without net metering, the amount that solar can save you can be cut drastically.

    So, the sooner you go solar, the better. To get started, use our state-of-the-art solar savings calculator that will give you a better idea of what system size you need to cover your monthly electric bill, what incentives are available, and how much electricity your solar panels could produce.

    Can going solar save you money? Find out today

    Key takeaways

    • In order to eliminate a $100 monthly FPL electric bill, you would need a solar system about 5.82 kW in size, which would cost about $15,074 before incentives.
    • FPL has a full retail net metering program where net metering credits can be carried over from month to month. At the end of a billing year, any leftover net metering credits are purchased by FPL at a rate less than the retail rate of electricity.
    • There are no solar rebates or incentives offered by FPL aside from net metering.
    • FPL requires pre-approval before a solar installation may begin and all permitting, inspections, and the interconnection agreement must be submitted prior to making the system operational.
    • Going solar with FPL is worth it because they offer full retail net metering and Florida has decent solar installation prices.
     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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