How much do solar panels cost in Florida in 2019?

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It often surprises people to hear that Florida, frequently referred to as “the Sunshine State,” is not the top state for solar. While California may hold the #1 spot for the U.S. solar market, Florida is undoubtedly one of the country’s leading states for home solar power. In this article, we’ll break down the top solar panel incentives in Florida and explain what a solar panel system will most likely cost.

How much do solar panels cost in Florida?

The price of a solar panel system in Florida is dependent on a number of factors, including the equipment, installation company, size of the system, and more. As of July 2019, the average cost of a solar panel system in FL is $2.63 per watt. For an average system size of 6 kilowatts (6,000 watts), the average price for a solar panel system in the state of FL is approximately $15,780 before any federal or local incentives.

While the average-sized solar panel system in Florida is larger than the national average of approximately 9.5 kilowatts, pricing in the state is lower than the national average ($2.99 per watt.) Below is a table that compares Florida’s solar pricing with the national pricing averages.

System sizeNational cost of solar panels (with federal tax credit)Florida cost of solar panels (with federal tax credit)
3 kW$6,279$5,523
6 kW$12,558$11,046
10 kW$20930$18,410
12 kW$25,116$22,092

*Note – prices in this table have the 30% federal solar tax credit already deducted

The data in the above table, which exhibits real quotes submitted to homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace, demonstrates the favorable pricing available in the Sunshine State compared to the rest of the country.





Don



Why are solar panels so popular in Florida?

Solar power in the state of Florida has become a frequent conversation topic due to the controversial solar amendment on the 2016 election ballot. Florida residents were responsible for a major win for the state’s solar industry after they rejected a misleading amendment that would have hiked rates for solar homeowners and blocked new companies from entering the PV market.

In a sense, the startling amount of money contributed by state utilities to fund the ballot measure (over $20 million) illustrated the fear those utilities have for solar’s potential in the Sunshine State. The PV market is heating up in Florida – Greentech Media forecasts 1900 percent growth in Florida solar capacity over the next five years. Instead of choosing to adapt to solar growth, Florida utilities attempted to block its growth through a misinformation campaign. Now that the latter has failed, they will have no choice but to accept the bold future for solar in their state.

Another reason for solar energy’s strong presence in Florida is the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research division of the University of Central Florida (UCF). The FSEC boasts a massive research and development operation focused on improving solar technologies. It has received a number of impressive awards including the Million Solar Roof’s Best Progress Award and the Energy Star for Homes Outstanding Achievement Award. The FSEC has contributed a significant amount of technical innovation to the solar PV industry, and it has undoubtedly been influential in driving solar growth in the state of Florida.

The cost of solar is dropping across the state of Florida. See prices in your area and get free solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace.

Financial incentives for solar power in the Sunshine State

A major financial reason for the popularity of home solar power in Florida is centered around the great solar incentives in the state. Every major state utility offers net-metering – a major “make or break” factor for the economics of solar.

Net metering applies to homeowners connected to the grid who have solar panels installed. It allows those homeowners to receive credits on their electric bills for surplus energy produced by their solar system. In a sense, net metering allows you to use the grid to store your energy for free. This is what makes solar a truly efficient and pragmatic option because you can then cover 100 percent of your energy needs over the course of a year. Without net metering, most homeowners have to opt for another storage option like a solar battery.

Furthermore, the pressure on Florida homeowners to meet 100 percent of energy demand from solar is much lower than in many other states in the U.S. because Florida’s electricity prices are fairly low. According to the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA), the average cost of energy in Florida actually decreased year over year towards 2019. Now at 11.89 cents per kilowatt-hour (a common metric used to compare energy prices), the cost of energy in Florida is significantly below the national average of 13.26 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Low electricity prices can actually make solar more appealing for Florida solar homeowners who have access to net metering because there is less pressure to perfectly size your solar system. If a resident gets a system that is on the smaller side and only ends up covering 75 percent of his or her energy needs, his or her new bill payment will still be very minimal in winter months when sun is less prevalent and the payback period might be as quick as five years for the solar panels on their roof.

Finding the Top Solar Installers in Florida

Ultimately, solar will make sense for most homeowners in Florida (depending on roof size, orientation, and shading). Thus the main variables for Florida homeowners to consider are what their specific solar panel system would cost, what type of equipment they would want and how to find the right solar company to do the installation. The EnergySage Solar Calculator offers personalized instant estimates based on real bids in your area and the size and angle of your roof. In order to see what installers are active in your county or town, register your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to begin comparing quotes from pre-screened installers near you.





Don



5 thoughts on “How much do solar panels cost in Florida in 2019?

  1. Bruce veale

    Is the $8800 to $11300 cost range for a 5 kW system a complete cost for the entire solar cell system or just for the panels?

  2. rudy gump

    Looking at a property now in S. fl. and they had paid about $47K for a 6KW system that is somehow assessed thru your property taxes at $4K+ a year(20 years at 5.99%) but it does include some roof improvements. They were told the panels couldn’t be installed without the improvements. It’s not clear if the panels actually can last 20 years or even how much is covered by warrantee. Seems a bit daft to spend $350 a month to replace power that should be in the $230 a month range.

  3. Philip

    Hi, I’m a solar specialist with one of the larger solar companies operating in Florida and several other states. I am in this line of work because I really am a giant fan of solar and I like helping people. I 100% believe in solar, so long as it is done right!

    So, I felt compelled to leave a comment here, since this page is about price of systems. A lot of homeowners I consult with tend to only look at cost of the system without understanding what they are really paying for. When you go solar, you aren’t just buying solar panels. You are buying partnering with a solar company for service, warranties, and you will need to depend on the installed system for decades to come. Here’s a rough guide to help you understand more about the price you are looking at. All of these factors should influence the value you see in the price being presented to you.

    1. Company
    If you are going to partner with a solar company for the next 25 years, an important question is, will they be around to service their installation? Are they already on risky financial ground? Are they a new company that has yet to prove their financial soundness? Have they been in business at least 5 years? Do they have a proven financial record with assets and stable revenue streams? There are hundreds of solar companies around. Anyone can start a solar company and many people are during this “gold rush” period where federal incentives are disappearing and homeowners are flocking to solar. However, this doesn’t mean the company is planning to be in it for the long haul. Many of cheapest companies allocate little to no funding for future service of their installations and are planning on going out of business after the federal incentives disappear. You might want to ask how long they have been in business and how many installations they have already completed. And finally, do be afraid to ask what the company’s long-term plans are. (Diversifying services is a good answer btw) If they have no plan, then you might know what kind of company you are dealing with.

    2. Installation
    Are their installations done properly, to ensure no leaks? Do they subcontract? (most do) Are the systems mounted properly to survive hurricanes (if applicable to your area). Even the wiring they use can affect whether rats chew the wiring. Additionally, do they take into account the aesthetics of your home when installing to ensure the best resell value? For example, do they install conduits everywhere on the roof or do they minimize visible conduits and take the time to run the wiring through the attic? Do they use big, bulky racking systems? Do their panels have silver lines and silver frames? (black on black panels look better). Not every company has beautiful installations and the cost of the system will be lower as a result, and that may not be a good thing.

    3. Service, Workmanship Warranties, and Roof/leak Warranties
    Solar technology is actually a very stable and well-proven technology. Solar has been around since the 60’s and the technology has only gotten better and better. However, an important question to ask is, how does the solar company service their installations in the event there are any issues? Are they able to remotely monitor their installation? In the event there is an issue, what does their warranty cover? Is it just materials or is labor cost included? For example, in the unfortunate event you have a leak, will they fix it for free or will they charge you the labor cost? Many cheaper companies boast long-term workmanship warranties, but if you read the fine print, there will be costs listed for different kinds of services provided under the warranty period, so is it really a warranty at all? And with these “seems too good to be true” warranties, will the company actually be around to make good on them? One check I recommend is to look up their BBB page. Look to see if there excessive complaints about issues not being taken care of in a timely manner or were there costs associated with service calls? No company will be perfect and sometimes customers are part of the reason for delayed repairs (which they never want to admit), but how does the company deal with issues? Are there success stories of issues being resolved quickly? Keep in mind too that the larger the company, the more complaints you should expect to see. A 4 man solar company that has completed 3 installations may have 1 complaint, whereas a large company may have completed 20,000 installations and only has 10. Which of the two really has a lower complaint ratio? The general rule of thumb here is that you get what you pay for.

    4. Customer service
    In the event you do have questions or concerns, do they have adequate customer service? Some companies literally use a recording machine for their customer service line. Try calling their main customer service line and see what happens. Do you have a 20 minute hold time, only to be then dumped to a recording machine?

    5. Panels
    Who is the manufacturer? Typically panels will have a 25 year power warranty, which guarantees a certain level of output. Is the manufacturer a company that is likely to be around this long? For example, Hanwa? LG? Is it worth the risk to pay slightly less for the solar system now, only to have weaker warranties and whose manufacturer may very well go out of business within the 25 year warranty? Some solar companies are going with off-brand panels to reduce their system costs, but this can come back to haunt you down the road when the quality of the panel just isn’t the same and you can’t get it replaced.

    6. Inverters
    Most websites I’ve visited fail to compare micro-inverters to string inverters adequately. The information I’ve read makes it seem like the only real difference is that microinverters allow a system to be expanded more easily and these systems are more efficient, with the drawback of being more costly. So, as these websites explain, they recommend to go with string inverters unless you have shading issues from trees. What they are failing to mention is that safety is a real concern here. String inverter systems have high voltage lines, because the power of all of the panels is carried on a single line causing high voltage. Micro-inverter systems are always low-voltage. Try a google image search for “string inverter fire” you’ll see why these kinds of inverters are actually being banned in counties throughout the US. Also consider firefighters spraying these systems with water in the event of a fire. Or other contractors having to do work near the high voltage lines. It is in my strong opinion that micro-inverters are the safest and best technology and should be used exclusively. The slight difference in cost is well worth it. And as a side benefit, they also come with better warranties and they last longer. The cost difference is more than made up with that alone.

    7. Is their assessment actually valid?
    This one can be hard for homeowners since you might not know whether the information being presented is accurate or not. Some companies are using dishonest methods to express value and offset of a homeowner’s electric bill. For example, during a consultation I had with a homeowner, he had booked ANOTHER solar company to also come out. The other company arrived while I was still there, which was a bit awkward, but I politely sat through the other company’s presentation. I was aghast at what was promised. The competitor company showed NONE of his work, showed NO facts or figures, and then proudly stated they would be completely eliminating the homeowner’s electric bill. He then went on to say that they would ALSO be providing FREE LED light bulbs, a cool new SMART thermostat, and.. get this, an electric heat blanket! Then he got out a drone and flew it around, like the whole thing was so COOL. Well, there are a few problems with this. Firstly, I had been taking notes. I took note of the panels being used, the size of the system, and I already had the exact yearly kWh usage for the home. The panels would have to somehow operate at such a high level of efficiency that it has literally never before been seen in Florida. And did you notice the “electric heat blanket” part? Really in the fine print, this company expects the homeowner to achieve the “100% offset” by not running their heat in the winter, reducing their AC usage during the summer, and then the LED light bulbs and smart thermostat were expected to produce some offset (if you research total power reduction for these, you’ll notice that it makes SOME difference but not a giant difference, it’s only a few percentage points). With a larger, higher quality system, I was prepared to show the homeowner a 95% offset. If the company isn’t showing you their work on how they assessed your usage and the production of the panels, then you should question whether the figures are accurate. Oh, and about the “COOL DRONE”. There is literally no reason to be using a drone to take pictures of a roof. We live in the digital age where high resolution images from satellites are used to design systems. This was done merely for show. Don’t fall for gimmicks.

  4. Ted

    For me, it doesn’t matter how much the solar system cost. One day I’m saving so much money that I could buy another system.

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