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Installing Solar Panels In Florida In 2024

Updated: Mar 1

solar panels florida

There are now more than 162 gigawatts of installed solar energy capacity in the United States, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). However, these solar systems are not evenly distributed across the country. Several states are leaders in solar panel installations and growth, including California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, and Arizona. Florida solar panel installations are widespread and growing in popularity.

Florida has 12,877 megawatts of solar electric capacity, which is enough to power nearly 1.5 million Florida homes with solar panels. Four cities in Florida rank among the nation’s leaders in solar capacity in 2022: Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. Today, 6.4% of the power comes from solar panels in Florida, and more than 12,260 people are employed in the Florida solar energy industry. The state boasts the greatest solar irradiance in the eastern United States, so well-sited systems will have excellent solar energy output.

Because Florida is the #3 solar market in the country, there are lots of opportunities for renewable energy professionals. Let’s explore why Florida is such a bright spot for the industry and why solar panel installations in Florida are so widespread.

Considerations for Florida Solar Panel Installations

Like most solar markets, Florida home and business owners want to know how much they can lower their electricity bills and how quickly the solar photovoltaic panels will pay for themselves from the savings. Although many Florida properties have excellent solar resources, not all are well-suited for solar panels. It’s critical for solar companies to provide reliable and accurate information to potential customers so that they can make informed decisions.

Florida Electricity Rates

The average cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of residential electricity in Florida is 15.48 cents, which is slightly lower than the national average of 16.2 cents per kWh. However, Florida electricity prices increased by 1.29 cents per kWh in just a year. The greater the cost of grid power, the faster a solar system pays for itself. The cost of grid power is used in calculating the payback period of solar panel systems.

Numerous electric companies are serving Florida, including Florida Power & Light, Tampa Electric Company, Duke Energy Florida, and the Florida Public Utilities Company. Various light companies serve different parts of Florida, and rates may vary.

Florida Power & Light (FPL)

The largest electric company in the state is FPL, which serves 11 million Floridians. Its service area includes the eastern coast of Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and parts of the greater Tampa Bay area.

Known for its commitment to renewable energy, FPL has invested in Florida solar panel projects, making it a leader in solar energy. The company focuses on innovation and reliability to meet the growing energy needs of its diverse customer base.

Evaluating A Property in Florida for Solar Panels

Despite having an excellent solar resource, some Florida properties have a lot of shading or other factors limiting solar energy development. For example, some properties do not have a good solar orientation, which results in lower solar energy output. Determine if there is too much shading during the site survey before getting too far into the process. This is also a good time to decide if the home needs an electrical panel upgrade or a new roof.

Also, 45% of Floridians live in properties with homeowners associations (HOAs). Therefore, many customers may need to get permission from the HOA for a solar project to move forward. However, the Florida Solar Rights Act does help protect your potential customers from solar ordinances, deed restrictions, and covenants that limit their use of solar equipment.

Qualifying For Florida Solar Energy Incentive Programs

Although there is a federal solar tax credit available for 30% of the installation cost, not all of your customers will qualify. For example, your customer must own the solar panels, so solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) do not qualify. Also, the homeowner must have a sufficient tax liability to be able to apply the tax credit. If a Floridian cannot use the tax incentive, a solar lease or joining a community solar farm might be a smarter investment.

Florida Solar Panel Incentives

There are several programs available in the state of Florida that make solar electricity more affordable. However, the Sunshine State does not have an active Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) market, Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), or solar rebates.

Net Metering in Florida

Net metering laws in Florida require utility companies to compensate their customers for excess power they supply to the electric grid. This enables Florida homeowners and businesses to get more value out of their solar systems without needing solar batteries.

Florida Solar Sales Tax Exemption

Florida does not collect sales tax for various types of solar panel systems, including solar photovoltaics (PV), solar pool heating, and solar water heaters. This renewable energy incentive can reduce the total cost of going solar by 6%.

Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption

Although installing a renewable energy system on a residence can significantly increase the home value, it won’t impact a home or business’s property taxes. This Florida property tax abatement law applies to wind turbines, geothermal heat pumps, solar PV panels, and lithium-ion solar batteries.

Federal Incentives For Installing Solar Panels in Florida

As mentioned above, Florida homeowners and businesses may be eligible for the investment tax credit (ITC), which can lower the total cost of installing solar panels by 30%. The ITC applies to the cost of all solar equipment, such as solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries.

Therefore, a $20,000 solar energy system can qualify for a $6,000 federal tax credit if the client has sufficient tax liability. Also, your Florida solar customers will see the benefits of the income tax credit when they file their taxes for the given tax year, so it isn’t immediate. It’s worth encouraging clients to work with a licensed tax professional to ensure they’re getting the most benefit from the tax credit.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels In Florida

Let’s explore some of the common questions related to using solar electricity in the Sunshine State.

What is the average cost of going solar in Florida?

The average cost per watt for a residential solar energy system in Florida as of June 2023 is $2.60 per watt before incentives. That means that the total upfront cost of a 6-kW rooftop solar system is around $15,600 in Florida. The cost of going solar is a bit lower than the national average, which is $2.95 per watt, according to EnergySage. Many homeowners can obtain solar loans and pay the cost of solar panels over time.

What is the payback period for Florida solar panels?

The average payback period for a Florida solar system is about 9.8 years, assuming your client can use the solar ITC. This also assumes they have a pretty good solar resource and can take advantage of Florida net metering programs.

Should homeowners in Florida install solar batteries?

The price of solar batteries has fallen in recent years, but they can still add $10,000 or more to the cost of a solar system. Whether a solar battery is worth the upfront expense depends on how often the customer experiences power outages and if their utility company offers Time-of-Use rates.

Under this rate structure, electricity is more expensive during times of high demand and lower at night and in the winter when demand is lower. Florida homes and businesses with solar batteries can draw from them instead of the power grid during times of peak demand to further reduce their energy bills.

Do I need a permit to install solar panels in Florida?

Yes, you typically need a solar permit in Florida to install a PV system. The permitting process ensures that the solar installation complies with local building and electrical codes, safety standards, and zoning regulations.

The specific requirements for obtaining a permit can vary by jurisdiction within Florida, so it's important to check with your local city or county building department. They can provide information on the necessary permits, documentation, and procedures. GreenLancer offers solar plan sets and permitting services, streamlining the solar permitting process.

Does Florida have a solar rights law?

Florida's solar rights law, also known as the "Florida Solar Rights Act," is designed to protect the rights of property owners to install solar energy devices on their properties. Enacted in 1980, this Florida solar law prohibits restrictions on the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on the use of renewable resources. It ensures that property owners have the right to harvest solar energy without facing unreasonable restrictions from homeowners' associations or local ordinances.

Do I need HOA approval for solar panels in Florida?

The Florida Solar Rights Act prohibits HOAs and local governments from outright banning the installation of solar panels in Florida on residential properties. However, while the law protects the right to install solar panels, it does not necessarily exempt homeowners from an HOA approval process.

In Florida, HOAs are generally allowed to impose reasonable restrictions on the installation of solar panels, provided these restrictions do not significantly impair the performance of the solar panels or significantly increase the costs of installation. Therefore, it's recommended to check with your specific Florida HOA and review its guidelines or covenants related to solar panel projects.

Installing Solar Panels In Florida Is A Bright Idea

With a relatively short payback period and lots of sunlight, Florida is an excellent state for installing solar panels. Net metering laws, the solar sales tax exemption, and renewable energy property tax abatement incentives make Florida an excellent opportunity for installers. In addition, Florida is a leading state for electric vehicles, which pair well with a home solar system.

GreenLancer works with solar panel installers in Florida and throughout the country on solar power projects. We’ve helped more than 5,000 solar companies complete successful clean energy installations.

Sign up for free to see our network of solar permit design and engineering specialists to streamline and scale up your operations.


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