Are solar panels worth it for Florida Power and Light electric customers?
The low cost of electricity in Florida and more specifically in the Florida Power and Light service area has meant that FPL has less solar customers than equivalent sized utilities in other states.
However, things have changed dramatically during 2017 and both the FPL areas and Florida in general have seen an explosion of demand for residential solar.
This trend started early in 2017 on the back of the Florida voters rejecting a proposed Amendment to the Florida Solar Rights Act in November 2016.
This amendment was sneaky attempt by the utilities to restrict the rights of homeowners, and to force solar systems to be designed and installed so that they would only be used for consumption on the local property. This would have ended the legal protection of Net Metering in Florida, which is the law that requires utilities to pay homeowners the full retail price for excess solar power they feed back into the grid.
Is Florida Power and Light net metering the reason so many of their customers have started installing solar panels in 2020?
Given that neither electricity prices nor solar rebates have changed significantly during 2018, I think the only explanation for the explosion of solar interest in Florida is increased public awareness of the benefits of Net Metering. The widely publicized debate about the proposed Amendment to the Solar Rights Act led many homeowners to realize for the first time that net metering is a very generous incentive, and that they should take advantage of it while they can, on top of the Federal 26% tax credit on a solar system for their home.
See your solar panel installation cost from your local solar companies around Florida
What are Florida Power and Light's Net Metering rates?
Florida Power and Light pay you the retail rate for excess solar power that you export into the grid, less the value of certain public programs which are each only a fraction of a cent per kwh. The Florida Power and Light net metering rate is currently around 10.5 cents per kWh.
Are solar panels worth it for FPL residential customers?
The payback period for FPL customers that install solar panels is longer than in some states, largely due to the relatively low cost of power.
If I input the details for a FPL customer that has a power bill of $212 per month into the best online solar panels calculator it tells me that I need a 13.66kW solar system that will produce 19,272 kWh's per year, and that this system will return the owner a $77,380 profit even after repaying the capital over 25 years.
Zero-down financed solar system estimate for a FPL customer
Monthly savings year one $41
The graph above shows the savings for this customer in the first month that their solar system is live. It assumes that the system is purchased via a 100% loan product.
One of the common reasons why people have been slow to install solar panels despite the excellent financial return that they give to FPL customers is that often the first months savings are not enough to motivate them to go through the process of buying solar. However, it is important that people realize that solar savings grow over time as utility prices increase. As can be seen in the graph, the solar saving are sizeable when totalled over the life of the system, not just the first month.
The graph below shows the savings for the same customer over 25 years. Please note the overall profit is slightly less than what was displayed for a cash purchase of the same system above. The difference being that we have included the cost of interest in the lifetime savings summary below.
Zero-down financed solar system cash flow
|System Size||13.66 kW|
The above cash flow projection assumes a solar system that offsets 100% of power usage, a finance rate of 3.99%, a financing period of 20 years, a minimum utility charge equivalent to 10% of bill without solar, and a utility cost inflation rate of 4.5% p.a.
What is the average payback period for residential solar panels for an FPL customer?
The payback period for an FPL customer installing solar panels on their roof at home depends on their power usage prior to installing solar, the time of day in which they use power and the size of system they install. What we have done below is copy an extract from the leading online solar panel savings calculator which shows that the payback period for a typical FPL customer as we've discussed above. You can visit this calculator yourself and enter your own current power bill to see your solar savings and your likely payback period. You'll note that for customers with larger monthly power bills the payback time is usually slightly shorter because the cost of solar systems per watt usually reduces as the system size increases.
See your savings and payback period based on your electricity use and location in the FPL territory
Estimated system size 13.66kW (100% usage offset)
Pay Back Period
8 Years 3 Months
Est. Cost/WattEstimated Cost Per Watt
(after 26% tax credit and local incentives)
Annual Power Generation
Your total savings over the life of the system are estimated to be $77,380
|Estimated south facing roof space required||911 sq-ft|
|Levelized cost of power from this system over 25 years||5¢ cents/kWh|
|System cost reduction by upfront incentives||-$8,701|
|Average cost of utility power over 25 years (if you don't get solar)||24¢ cents/kWh|
|Equivalent Return on Investment (IRR)||11.3%|
|Monthly Savings year 25 (for 100% energy usage)||$609.64|
System prices are estimated based on the average reported cost of systems installed in the past year. Pay Back Period and Equivalent Return on Investment are calculated based on a 100% cash purchase. Estimated Cost Per Watt is calculated after claiming all applicable incentives. This estimate assumes you are able to take full advantage of potential tax benefits.
Cash Flow graph - Cash Purchase of this system
What incentives, tax credits and rebates are available to FPL customers for installing solar?
As is the case with most utilities around America, FPL no longer offers up-front cash incentives paid by the utility to encourage their customers to install solar panels. There are some upfront incentives available for customers on low incomes and some available for new home construction. You should ask your local solar company about whether you may be eligible for any such incentives. Solar may also be eligible for some wider energy efficiency grants or credits although these are also limited in scope and application.
The major financial incentive currently available until the end of 2020 is the 26% federal solar tax credit. However the way this works is that the full cost of the system needs to be paid to the installer and this tax credit can then be claimed back as cash when you next do your taxes.
Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption
Solar energy systems are exempt from state sales and use tax
Property Tax Abatement for Renewable Energy Property
100% of the value of a solar energy systems is exempt from property taxes.
Loans that are paid back through an increase in property taxes. Loans are attached to the property so if the homeowner moves, the next property owner pays back the loan.
Unsecured personal loans for those in underserved communities for sustainable home improvements.
Investor-owned utilities are required to offer their customers the full retail rate for each excess kWh they export to the grid.
Lakeland Electric - Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program
0% interest loan up to $5,000, must be resident and homeowner, On-bill repayment
Florida Keys Electric Cooperative - Solar Loan Program
Competitive interest loans of up to $35,000 for solar and energy storage. On-bill repayment and 10-year term with no penalty for prepayment.
Orlando Utilities Commission - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
$2,000 for installing solar+battery systems. Battery must have capacity of 8 kWh or greater.
Jacksonville Electric Authority - Solar Battery Incentive Program
$4,000 rebate per home/business on the purchase of a qualified battery storage system.
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area. If you still are unsure about the eligibility criteria of some of the solar incentive programs, please discuss with the solar installer representative who may contact your shortly, or visit the solar incentives discussion forum where the most common questions are likely to have already been answered.
Detailed information about your estimate
|System Size (for 100% usage offset)||13.66 kW|
|Annual Power Generation||19,272 kWh|
|Pay-back time (assuming Cash purchase)||8 Years 3 Months|
|Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on Investment||11.3 %|
|Total Upfront Incentives and Rebates||-$8,701|
|Net Cost of System after rebates and incentives||$24,766|
|Total Cost of Utility Power Avoided over 25 years||$113,368|
Please note that the investment return figures do not include the possible increase in property value.
What are the environmental impacts from FPL customers installing solar panels for their home?
While most home owners ultimately decide to install solar panels because of the financial savings they offer over time, for some people it is the environmental impacts of this choice that drive the decision to install solar. Here is a break down of the environmental benefits delivered by the installation of a 13.66kW solar system.
A solar system generating 19,272 kWh per year will save you money AND make the world a nicer place
on average per year
Reduces CO2 emissions
metric tons per year
Equivalent to planting
Equivalent to driving
less per year
CO2 emissions calculation based on the electricity generation and emissions data for your state in 2015 as published by the US Government Energy Information Administration.
How much power do solar panels installed in the FPL territory produce?
The amount of power produced by solar panels across the FPL service territory varies depending on the location and local climate, although in general the power output is much better than in the northern states. You can enter your zipcode below to see an accurate estimation of power production in your specific location, and also get pricing from local solar companies.
See solar panel installation cost from your local installers
How much does solar panel installation cost in the FPL territory?
The cost of installing solar panels will vary with brands of solar panels and inverters you choose and also the installation company you choose to install them. However, as a general note the lack of a law supporting third party owned solar leases and PPA agreements in Florida has meant that the purchase and loan model has always been the dominant financing model for solar panels there. What this has meant is that solar panels cost in Florida is the cheapest residential solar panels installation cost in America.
Who are the best solar companies that service my local part of the FPL territory?
As the FPL territory covers a number of cities there are different solar companies operating locally in each, as well as some that cover the whole territory.
If you are up to the stage of wanting quotes from solar installers you can get a system sized for your house and up to four quotes from installers that service your area for free online by entering your zip code below.
See my solar panel installation cost from your local installers
How much electricity will solar panels produce where I live?
How do I get an accurate solar quote that takes into account my power usage with FPL?
To do this they need to know your power usage patterns. This will allow you to come up with the amount of solar panels you would ideally want that would work to make your power bill near zero.
Once you determine the right amount of solar panels, you then need to measure your roof to see how many panels will actually fit on your roof. Most solar companies can measure roof spaces online using tools that are similar to Google Maps (but are more accurate) such as www.nearmap.com.
The www.solar-estimate.org website is the leading solar marketplace in America and allows you to both do an accurate online estimate of your needs and request quotes from solar companies through one simple web interface.