Did you know that St. Petersburg, Florida holds the Guinness World Record for most consecutive days of sunshine in a row? There is a reason Florida is known as the Sunshine State. With all that free, clean energy beaming down on you every day, why wouldn’t you want to consider going solar?
We know that for most people, the most obvious drawback is the initial cost. Purchasing a full solar system is a big commitment, but in a state where 90% of the energy consumed is electricity, solar is a worthwhile investment. Not only is it better for the environment, but it is also better for your budget.
Florida residents enjoy well over the national average of sunny days each year as well as lower solar installation costs, making solar energy an obvious choice. Don’t believe us? Let’s check out the numbers.
The Cost of Solar In Florida
Before we go too far, let’s just state the obvious. Solar technology is just like everything else. The price and the quality can vary depending on where you live, the product manufacturer, and the installer. We’re going to stick to averages for this article, so do not be surprised if the numbers differ slightly from those you’ve found through other sources. For a slightly more personalized estimate, try our solar cost calculator. For a truly personalized estimate, you should talk to your local solar system installer. Okay, let’s get started.
The average cost for a solar installation in Florida is around $2.62 per watt. This means that a 10kW system would cost approximately $26,000. This cost would typically include the panels, wiring, mounting equipment, and labor for installation. There are a few more elements that can impact the cost, for more details check out this article.
Based on the average electricity usage in Florida, you would need an 8kW to 10kW system to switch exclusively to solar. Everyone’s needs differ, so here is a chart showing the average cost of solar systems in different sizes, just to give you an idea of what to expect.
|System Size||Cost Based on Average|
You do not have to install a full system right from the start. You can choose to install a smaller system and then expand as your budget allows. Not all solar systems are easily expandable, so make sure you discuss this plan with your installer before making any purchases. A good installer will help you design your system accordingly so you can avoid any costly problems when it comes time to upgrade.
Solar Incentives In Florida
Now that you have seen the worst of it, you can relax and recover from the sticker shock, there is good news ahead! These prices are based on the average cost without any incentives or rebates.
Although Florida does not have any state-wide solar rebates, there are a few perks.
First of all, Florida is a net metering state. Net metering is a program that allows you to connect your solar system to the grid and essentially sell any extra electricity that your system generates back to the electricity company. Florida is one of the few states where you can earn the full retail price per kWh. With over 270 sunny days per year, there is a very good chance that your system will be producing extra electricity, especially if you’re already energy-conscious.
Secondly, Florida offers two solar tax exemptions. Residential solar installations are exempt from sales tax, so there is a 6% savings right off the top. Florida also offers a property tax exemption for solar systems, so you do not have to worry about your property taxes going up after you switch to solar. This is good news considering a full solar system can increase your home’s value by up to 4%.
Federal Tax Credit
If you have been researching solar power in the United States for any amount of time, you have probably heard of the Solar Investment Tax Credit. This credit allows you to deduct 26% of your installation cost from your federal taxes. This credit is not permanent though, it will decrease to 22% in 2023, so now is definitely a good time to take the leap and go solar.
The Cost Of Electricity In Florida
According to the Energy Information Administration, the average cost of electricity in Florida as of August 2021 is 11.97 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), which is somewhat lower than the national average. Unfortunately, Floridians use nearly 30% more electricity per day than the national average meaning that electricity bills are still somewhat high.
The majority of the electricity used in the Sunshine State is used for appliances and electronics followed closely by air conditioning. Switching to more energy-efficient appliances can decrease your monthly bill, but you can still expect to spend about $1,500 to $1,700 a year on electricity.
When Will Your Solar System Start Paying Off?
Let’s go back to the cheerful numbers, shall we? It is time to discuss peak sunlight hours. Peak sunlight hours are exactly what they sound like, they are the hours throughout the day during which your panels will receive the most direct sunlight. As you can imagine, these hours differ by location and change throughout the year. Lucky for you, Florida’s peak sunlight hours are well above average.
During the summer, you can expect to get about 6.16 hours of peak sunshine per day. In the winter, this drops to 5.26 hours, which is still 1.26 hours about the national average. So what does this mean for your solar system? Simply put, more sun means more energy and more energy means more electricity and a shorter payoff period for your solar system.
Here is another chart, this time showing how long it should take to pay off your solar system. Keep in mind that these are averages, based on premium conditions (5.71 hours of peak sunlight per day), but these estimates are close enough to give you a general idea of what to expect.
|System Size||Average Monthly Output||Approx. Monthly Savings||Time To Pay Off System Without Federal Tax Credit||Time To Pay Off System After Federal Tax Credit|
|5kW||856kWh||$100||10.9 Years||8 Years|
|8kW||1,370kWh||$161||10.8 Years||8 Years|
|10kW||1,713kWh||$201||10.8 Years||8 Years|
As you can see, it will take approximately 8 to 10 years for your solar system to pay for itself based on the current cost of electricity. A decade may seem like a long time, but when that is compared to how long the typical solar system is designed to last, 10 years doesn’t seem like long at all.
Most solar panel manufacturers guarantee their panels for 25 to 30 years. They do this because the panels are built to function at peak efficiency for a minimum of 25 to 30 years. After that time has passed, the system will still produce electricity simply at a lower efficiency rate. This means that with a well-maintained solar system, you will be enjoying clean energy for far longer than 30 years, all the while saving you money on your utility bills.
How Much Money Will You Save In The Long Run?
Even if you only count the first 20 to 22 years after your system has paid for itself, you are looking to save approximately $30,000 to $35,000 in electricity costs and that’s only if the cost of electricity does not increase over that time period.
With more rebates and incentives popping up all the time, you may earn your money back even sooner than expected and be able to enjoy even more savings. And don’t forget all the money you will continue to save after that initial 30 years when you still don’t have to worry about paying for electricity.
Is Solar Worth It In Florida?
There is certainly no doubt that solar is worth the investment in Florida! Florida has everything you need for perfect solar system conditions: lots of sunshine, low installation costs, and a variety of solar incentives, who could ask for more?
Check out our Green Home and Green Living pages for ideas on how you can try solar energy without the big commitment. Even small changes, such as using solar to charge your electronic devices, can make a big impact in the long run. You’ll never go wrong when you choose clean, earth-friendly solar energy.