Are solar panels in Florida worth it? Your expert savings guide for 2020


The Sunshine State has seen a recent boom in solar panel installations as more homeowners become aware of the huge savings solar energy offers. The combination of federal incentives and utility programs, alongside Florida’s Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, has made solar more affordable than ever before.

Are solar panels in Florida worth it? Your expert savings guide for 2019

What is the cost to install residential solar power in Florida?

The average cost of solar power in Florida is $2.70 watt as of January - the lowest cost in the entire country. This puts an average 6 kW solar system at $16,200 before claiming any incentives. While that’s a lot of money, this is rarely the amount you’ll actually pay after all incentives are factored in.

What solar incentives are available in Florida?

Solar incentives currently available in Florida:

What is the 26% solar tax credut?

The 26% solar tax credit, known formally as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows tax-paying homeowners to claim 26% of their solar system’s cost as a deduction on their income taxes. This is essentially a 26% discount on your solar system. If your tax liability is less than 26% of your solar system’s cost, you can roll the remaining balance over to the next period for up to 10 years.

How do I apply for the 26% solar tax credit?

After purchasing your solar system, fill out form 5695 when you file your taxes. Here is a guide you can follow on how to claim the solar tax credit.

Are solar systems in Florida exempt from property tax bills?

Despite the substantial cost to install solar power in Florida your property — and the resulting boost to your home’s selling price — you will be exempt from paying taxes on the value added to your home. Alongside the utility savings, this is a great selling point when listing your home on the real estate market.

Does Florida offer any rebates or tax credits to further reduce the price of solar panels?

The city of Longwood used to offer a small rebate program but this program has now expired. Sadly, there’s no other state tax credit or rebate for solar in Florida. The same goes for rebates.

Luckily, the dual impact of existing incentives and advancements in manufacturing technology means that the cost of solar power in Florida has dramatically decreased for the average homeowner.

See what solar panels cost in Florida after applying all incentives

What is net metering?

With all the sunshine in Florida, it’s very likely that at times your solar system will produce too much energy for your home. This excess power is exported to the grid, and net metering means your utility must compensate you at the rate you pay for power. Every 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of power sent to the grid is 1 kWh off of your electricity bill; this is how solar pays for itself.

Provided you size your system correctly you should be able to wipe out all or at least most of your electric bill.

Will the cost of solar power in Florida go down?

The cost of solar power in Florida and America as a whole has been on a steady decline. Ten years ago solar was close to $7.00/watt; most Florida residents now pay $2.70/watt — which is a real bargain.

Annual solar pv installations and blended average pv prices

Image credit: SEIA

As you can see, the declining price of solar panels has led to a drastic increase in the number of installed systems. In fact, Q3 2019 saw the highest number of solar installations ever. Less solar was installed in 2017 compared to 2016, but this was mainly because the 30% tax credit was scheduled to expire at the end of 2015. Smart homeowners rushed to purchase systems before the expiry of the credit, which led to a surge in installations the following year.

However, the federal ITC was subsequently extended until 2021. While, the full 30% figure for the tax credit expired at end 2019, you can still get a tax credit of 26% in 2020. The rate will decline further next year, before disappearing entirely after that.  

How much can I save by purchasing a solar panel system?

Installing a properly sized renewable energy system in Florida can save you up to $80,000 in avoided electricity costs. This is about average for the United States. To maximize your savings you can always change to a cheaper rate plan and purchase energy efficient appliances for your home. Many local cities and utilities offer rebates and tax breaks on energy-efficient appliances. A great site that specializes in energy efficiency and solar incentives is

The image above demonstrates the change in an electricity bill for an example homeowner who switches to solar. As you can see the utility savings outweigh the loan payments meaning you can start saving money from Day 1. Once the balance of the loan is paid off you’ll essentially have free power. Solar energy in Florida can usually save system owners upwards of $80,000 over the 25 year warranted life of their solar system.

What is solar PACE financing?

The state of Florida allows for localities to offer loans which are paid for through a property tax increase to your local government. PACE loans can finance not just solar systems, but most energy efficiency upgrades as well. The benefit of PACE is that you can start saving money on your utility bills day one, and if you choose to move house you can pass the remaining balance on the loan to the next property owner. This is why PACE is different to regular solar loans.

The new owner can elect to keep paying the loan or have the equipment removed, although it’d be unwise to do so as the savings from solar would far outweigh the loan payments.

How do I sign up for PACE Florida?

One option is to check with your local county to see which PACE programs are offered in your area. The other, easier option is to approach your local solar installer. They can advise you about your options and help you sort out the required paperwork.

Where is PACE financing available?

The following counties have PACE financing programs:

  • Alachua County

  • Brevard County

  • Broward County

  • Charlotte County

  • Citrus County

  • Clay County

  • Collier County

  • Escambia County

  • Flagler County

  • Gadsden County

  • Gulf County

  • Hillsborough County

  • Hernando County

  • Holmes County

  • Jackson County

  • Jefferson County

  • Lee County

  • Levy County

  • Manatee County

  • Marion County

  • Miami-Dade County

  • Monroe County

  • Nassau County

  • Osceola County

  • Orange County

  • Palm Beach County

  • Pasco County

  • Seminole County

  • Suwannee County

  • Volusia County

  • Walton County

Remember, these are only the counties which have communities with active PACE projects, and the programs aren’t always available county-wide.

Do I qualify for PACE?

Provided you don’t have overdue taxes or mortgage payments or are part of a bankruptcy filing, you should have no trouble qualifying for PACE.

How long will a solar installation in Florida take to pay for itself?

Solar systems in Florida usually take about 8-9 years to pay for themselves. Some important factors that affect your repayment time are:

  • Your overall electric usage

  • The size of your solar system

  • Whether or not you use a lot of power during the day

  • Your electric rate plan

To maximize your savings you want to cut down on your usage as much as possible, this will mean your solar system sends more energy to the grid that your utility must pay you for.

The time of day you use the most power is also a major factor of your solar repayment time. If you’re at home during the day when your solar system is producing the most energy it will mean your solar system exports less energy to the grid. The less energy sent to the grid, the less your utility is required to pay you in net metering credits, although still cheaper than without solar, this will increase your electric bills.

A great site to help you find the right rate plan is, they also have lots of helpful information on solar and energy efficiency improvements. For a more detailed estimate, you can find out how long your system will take to pay for itself by using our Florida solar panel cost calculator.

Should I install a solar battery system in Florida?

With products such as the Tesla Powerwall 2 gaining large media attention, you may be wondering whether or not batteries are right for you. The truth is that as net metering is available in Florida, the significant upfront investment in a battery solution isn’t worth it. Since net metering ‘stores’ the monetary value of your excess electricity — for no additional upfront investment — batteries just aren’t worth it.

Are solar panels resistant to extreme weather?

Most solar panel manufacturers that are at least semi-reputable will test their panels in 140 mph (i.e hurricane-like) winds. It is extremely unlikely that your solar panels will add to the danger during most extreme weather events.

As for hail storms, this shouldn’t be a concern of yours either. Solar panels are legally required to comply with international standard IEC61215. Under these conditions, a solar panel must be able to withstand a hit from a ball of hail 25mm (about 1 inch) in diameter at speeds of 51.4 mph. Some premium brands of solar panels are rated to withstand hits from even larger balls of hail at even higher speeds.

 - Author of Solar Reviews

Andrew Sendy

Home Solar Journalist

Andy is deeply concerned about climate change but is also concerned about cost of living pressures on American families. He advocates for solar energy and solar battery storage only to the extent that they make financial sense for homeowners. He is not affiliated with any particular solar company in the United States.

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