Now is the perfect time to consider a solar system investment in Florida. While statewide legislation has been slow to get on board with solar power technology, things are changing, and solar is becoming a viable option for residents all across the Sunshine State.
What are the benefits of going solar in Florida?
Solar panel systems perform best in areas with plenty of sunlight, and given that Florida is rightfully called “the sunshine state,” it's the perfect place for solar panels.
Of course, up until recently, the Florida solar panel market has been stymied by legislation banning the leasing of solar panels to homeowners within the state.
But in the wake of new legislation that now allows the largest solar companies like Sunrun and Vivint Solar to expand into the area, Florida's place in the residential solar market has changed. It is now in the top three states in America for the installation of solar panels for homes.
Before this ruling, utility companies (who are largely coal-based) were the only entities allowed to sell electricity in the state. Now, projections call Florida the fastest-growing solar market in 2018. This is great from an environmental perspective, and it's also great for residents who want to get on board with clean, inexpensive, and renewable energy in their homes.
With that in mind, let's review the costs of solar in Florida for residents in several of the state's biggest cities.
How much power does a solar panel produce in Florida?
Average cost of $3.39 per watt (before the national 30 percent solar tax credit)
12,134 kWh of annual power production
Average lifetime savings of $49,074 compared to traditional electricity systems
Check out our in-depth breakdown of solar panel costs here.
With the basics established, let's review solar installations across two major Florida cities: Orlando and Miami.
Looking at Orlando
To begin, let's look at Orlando.
What's the average cost of a solar installation in Orlando?
Orlando averages 233 sunny days per year—well above the national average of 205. This is great for your solar installation, as the more sunlight your system receives, the better your long-term returns will be.
Specific to Orlando, here's a breakdown of solar costs:
- Average cost of solar panels: $2.78 per watt
- 5kW solar system will cost $13,900 (before the 30 percent solar tax credit)
It's noteworthy that this comes out to several thousand dollars less than the average cost of solar installations across the nation as a whole, so homeowners in Orlando can take advantage of these benefits for a lower up-front cost than most other states offer.
The reason that the cost per watt of solar panels installed is lower in both Orlando and Florida generally is that homes in Florida use more power on average than homes in almost all of the states of the US and so the average solar system size installed in Florida is larger than in other places. When solar companies are installing larger systems this allows them to sell for a cheaper cost per watt.
Learn how much a solar installation for your home will cost.
What are the best rebates and incentives to go solar in Orlando?
While not specific to Orlando, the U.S. Department of Energy allows for a personal solar tax credit for home solar panel installations. This federal solar tax credit is currently 30 percent of the cost of residential solar installations.
The Orlando Utilities Commission also offers net metering meaning customers are paid the full retail value of solar power that they export ot the OUC grid. More details about OUC net metering can be found on Orlando Utilities website. For more information about installing solar panels as an OUC customer
While this won't significantly pad your bank account, residents may earn several hundred dollars in this “free” money per year—certainly worth taking advantage of.
Looking at Miami
Next, let's look at Miami and compare the two.
What's the average cost of a solar installation in Miami?
Miami fares even better than Orlando in total sunny days, boasting a full 248 days of sunshine per year. This puts it in the top 30 sunniest cities in all of the United States—perfect for your solar energy installation.
Specific to Miami, here's a quick breakdown of solar costs:
- Average cost for solar panels comes out to $3.20 per watt
- This means that a 5kW system will cost $16,000 (before the 30 percent solar tax credit)
While this is already fairly competitive when compared to other states in the U.S., it becomes even better when you factor in the state-wide net metering incentive. Coupled with Miami's copious amount of sunshine, the ROI on solar installations in Miami is great.
What are the best rebates and incentives to go solar in Miami?
As noted above, residents of Miami will qualify for the national solar tax credit, currently 30 percent of the solar installation's cost. And just like Orlando, residents producing solar power will be eligible for net metering credits, in this case offered through Florida Power and Light.
Each kWh you produce will be paid back (either into your energy bill, or as a surplus rebate at the end of the year) at the retail price paid for solar power.
Who are the best solar installers in Orlando and Miami?
The costs of solar installations in Florida have been decreasing over the years, and combined with the decreasing costs of solar panel technology overall, it's a great time to invest in solar panels.
Even better, solar energy installation companies in Florida charge the lowest rates anywhere in the country, averaging just $2.90 per watt for cash-purchased systems and $3.30 per watt when leased through solar-specific loans.
Of course, many factors will affect your solar system's total energy output (and thus, overall cost), including solar panel location, roof direction, and roof angle, so you'll need to get a solar estimate from a certified solar installer in Florida to understand the costs specific to your home.
To guarantee you get the best deal, we recommend the Solar Reviews Marketplace when looking at your options. There are plenty of great installers in Florida, such as Solar Ray, Power Production Management, and IQ Power, but shopping around will help you find the nearest installer who can give you the best price for your unique home solar installation.
Click here to view our rundown of the top solar companies in Florida.
Regardless of who you choose for your installation, now's the best time to get in on a solar investment in Florida—no matter if you live in Orlando, Miami, or anywhere else in the sunshine state.