Solar in the United States has grown remarkably over the past decade, and Florida is one of the states leading the way. The Sunshine State ranks in the top 10 for installed solar capacity and is number five in the country for solar jobs. It also ranks third in the nation for rooftop solar potential with cities like Jacksonville, one of the largest in the United States, ripe for solar panel system installation. In this article we’ll explain why Jacksonville is a top spot for solar power and what Jacksonville homeowners can do to maximize their solar savings.
How much do solar panels cost in Jacksonville?
As of mid-2017, the average price for solar panels in Jacksonville was $3.24 per watt. Thus, since the typical system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), the average cost of a solar panel system in Jacksonville is $16,200 before any rebates or incentives.
While this price is competitive for the overall state of Florida, it is also very competitive in terms of the national average. Prices for solar panel systems have dropped by over 64% in Florida over the past 5 years and homeowners are taking notice. Check out this comparison table of Jacksonville and U.S. average pricing for various system sizes:
Solar pricing table: Jacksonville compared to U.S. average costs
|System size||National average cost
| Jacksonville average cost
The above table, which uses pricing data from solar quotes received by homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace over the last 12 months, offers a comparison of prices nationwide and in Jacksonville for solar energy systems. As the data illustrates, typical solar prices in Jacksonville, Florida are significantly lower than the rest of the country.
When looking at the solar industry as a whole, it’s well known that Florida is a pragmatic places to install solar. But when you zero in on Jacksonville’s market and compare it to the rest of the country, the advantage for homeowners is even clearer. The good news for most Florida homeowners is that these low costs do not even incorporate the added benefit of net metering, offered throughout the Sunshine State.
Florida’s net metering and other incentives
Net metering is one of the most important regulatory policies for homeowners in Florida with solar panel systems. This policy allows homeowners to sell any excess solar energy generated back to the grid. This means that while you are out and about during the day and not using much electricity at your house, your solar panels can be hard at work saving you money.
Other incentives in Florida include Florida’s Property Tax Exclusion for Residential Renewable Energy Property. When value is added to a home, property taxes usually shoot up but thanks to this property tax exemption a solar system will not result in any additional costs on tax day.
In addition, Florida homeowners do not have to pay sales tax when they buy a new solar energy system, thanks to the Solar and CHP Sales Tax Exemption. That’s a 6 percent savings on what you would otherwise pay.
How Jacksonville homeowners can save big with solar
Though Jacksonville residents are already seeing low solar prices with continued cost declines expected over the next five years, low prices aren’t necessarily the biggest selling point. When it comes to going solar, the long term ROI and savings from avoided bill payments is often the biggest deciding factor – and the figures can be staggering even in states where utility rates are reasonable.
In 2017, solar quotes received by Jacksonville homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $53,371 on average. Checkout the breakdown of average net savings by solar system size:
Jacksonville net 20-year savings from solar
|System size||Average solar savings over 20 years|
Three tips for solar shoppers in Jacksonville
Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can save thousands on their solar panel installation.
The biggest installers typically don’t offer the best price
The bigger isn’t always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.
Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
National-scale installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.
There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.
For any Jacksonville homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.