The U.S. has seen remarkable solar growth in the past half decade, and Florida is certainly one of the states leading the way. The Sunshine State now ranks in the top 10 for installed solar capacity and number five in the country for solar jobs. It’s also home to one of the nation’s top cities for solar energy – Orlando. The theme park capital of the world is starting to garner a reputation for its record-low solar prices. In this article we’ll explain why Orlando has become a top spot for solar power and what Orlando homeowners can do to cash in on big solar savings.
How much do solar panels cost in Orlando?
As of the first half of 2017, the average price for solar panels in Orlando was $2.78 per watt. Thus, since the average system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), the cost of a solar panel system in Orlando is $13,900 before any rebates or incentives.
This price is below averages for the overall state of Florida, but it is even more notably competitive when looking at the national average. Prices for solar power systems have dropped by over 60 percent in Florida over the past 5 years and homeowners are starting to take notice. Check out this comparison table of Orlando, Florida and U.S. average pricing for various solar system sizes:
Solar pricing table: Orlando compared to Florida and U.S. average cost
|System size||National average cost (post ITC)||Florida Average Cost (Post ITC)||Orlando average cost (post ITC)|
*Note – prices in this table have the 30% Federal solar subsidy already included
The above table, which illustrates pricing data from solar quotes received by homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace in the past year, offers a comparison of prices nationwide, statewide and in Orlando for solar energy systems. As the data illustrates, typical solar prices in Orlando, Florida are lower than the rest of the state and significantly lower than the overall U.S.
When considering the solar industry as a whole, it’s well known that Florida is one of the most top markets for rooftop solar. But when you zero in on Orlando’s specific market and compare it to the rest of the country, the advantage for homeowners is even clearer. The good news for most Orlando homeowners is that these record low costs do not even incorporate the added benefit of net metering, offered all throughout the Sunshine State.
Florida net metering and other key solar power incentives
One reason for the popularity of solar panel systems in Florida is centered around the great solar incentives and rebates in the state. Every major state utility offers net metering – a “make or break” factor for solar economics.
Net metering is a major benefit for grid-connected homeowners that have a solar system installed. These people can receive credits on their electric bills whenever their solar panels send energy back to the grid. In a sense, net metering allows you to use the grid to “store” your energy at no cost– when your solar panels don’t produce enough electricity, you can use your net metering credits instead of buying more electricity from your utility.
This is what makes solar a truly efficient and pragmatic option: with net metering, you can cover 100 percent of your energy needs even during nighttime when your system will not generate energy. Without net metering, most homeowners have to buy an additional storage option like a solar battery.
How Orlando homeowners can earn big savings with solar
Though Orlando residents will see some of the cheapest solar prices in the country with continued cost declines expected over the next decade, low prices aren’t the only selling point. When it comes to going solar, the long term ROI and savings from avoided electricity bill payments is often the top deciding factor – and the figures can be staggering even in states where utility rates are reasonable. In the past year, solar quotes received by Orlando homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $56,000 on average.
And even though that number may be staggering, what isn’t captured in a savings figure is the control you have as a solar shopper on the final quote you’ll receive for your solar energy system – bringing us to our…
Three tips for solar shoppers in Orlando
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 best solar contractors in Orlando that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from pre-screened installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $2,000 or more 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 Orlando 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.