Is Solar Worth it in Florida? Costs and Benefits of Solar Panels in Florida
Due to the abundance of sun that the state of Florida receives, it’s easy to say that yes—solar panels are worth it. However, even though Florida ranks third in the entire country for solar potential, they are only 14th for existing installed rooftop solar systems. So, solar panels are worth it, but not everyone is using them—let’s see why.
Average Cost for Solar Panel Installation
The cost of a solar panel system is calculated by how much power they produce, which affects their overall size. The average price of a solar panel is $2.59 per watt. So when taking into consideration the average required energy for a household, you can expect the average cost of a solar power system to be between $11,000 and $15,000.
However, keep in mind that when you consider Florida’s investment tax credit (ITC) of 26%, it can drop the price significantly. The ITC is a solar power government incentive to encourage homeowners to use solar power.
Solar Panel Life Expectancy
A question that many people have is in regards to how long they can expect their solar power panels to last after such a significant financial investment. Many solar panel manufacturers have warranties lasting 25–30 years, and just because the warranty runs out doesn’t mean your panel will suddenly stop producing power. A panel will likely last much longer than its warranty period.
It is worth mentioning that while the panels may last a long time, they will decrease in their effectiveness over time, and other components to the system will likely have to be replaced before the panels. So a solar power system will not be without its maintenance and repairs.
Benefits of Solar Power in Florida
One of the major benefits of solar power in Florida is net metering. Florida Power and Light and other utility companies in Florida allow the connection of residential solar power systems to their grids. In doing this, you will essentially be able to sell back your unused power to the utility company.
Another major benefit is the energy cost savings. Of course, there is a considerable expense involved with having a system installed. But once it pays for itself—around ten years for the average-sized system—you will be pocketing those savings and potentially even be making money with the net metering program.
Pros and Cons of Solar Power in Florida
While the balance tips in favor of solar power being worth it in Florida, there are some cons that one must keep in mind. It’s worth noting that the major cons are cost-related, which is relative. Here are a few pros and cons to give you a good overview:
- Eco-friendly power solution
- Money-saving investment in the long run
- Net metering
- 26% tax credit
- Plenty of sunshine all year round to make solar power worth it
- Quite expensive when taking other states having much higher tax savings and rebates available
- Third-party ownership power purchase agreements are not available in Florida
Things to Keep in Mind Before Making the Switch
A solar power system may be an excellent investment in Florida, but it’s not a cheap one. Make sure you carefully consider whether or not it is suitable for you in your particular situation before taking the leap.
Consider Your Energy Consumption
Each person’s energy consumption will vary wildly depending on their lifestyle and family size. Because solar power is ultimately limited by its size and how much sun it receives, you need to consider your consumption.
There are inexpensive devices you can get that will measure your electricity usage. Once you have an accurate picture of how much power your family uses, you can decide if solar power is right for you and how big a system you need.
Make Sure it is Done Right
The installation of a solar power system is nothing to mess around with. For example, even if the panels are installed at the wrong angle it can drastically change their effectiveness. It is possible to set most of these systems up by yourself, but make sure that you use plans. If possible, contact a trusted professional solar contractor.
Take the time to do your research. Figure out exactly why you want solar. Are you wanting to save money long-term? Do you want to power everything? Is it going to be your primary power source or a backup power source?
Asking yourself some of these questions can save you a lot of money in mistakes in the long run. If you have friends who use solar power, ask them if they wish they had done anything differently. There are also plenty of forums on the internet where you can ask these questions.
As you see, without a doubt, solar power is worth it in Florida. There is a ton of sun all year round, and the investment could literally put money back in your pocket every year after about ten years. However, it is also a pretty hefty upfront cost, so it’s not for everyone. But if solar power is within your budget, it is definitely worth considering.
Featured Image Credit: Robert Kneschke, Shuterstock