Florida ranks in top 20 states for highest potential for solar power – Florida Today

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The initial price of installing solar panels is costly, but if you live in Florida, it pays itself off faster than in 34 other states.

Between 2010 and 2020, the cost of solar panels decreased by half of what it cost in 2010 and the amount of households that switched to solar increased by 27 times what it was in 2010.

MarketWatch recently released a study examining where in the U.S. having solar panels on your home pays itself off the fastest and found that (unsurprisingly) the Sunshine State ranks in the top 20 best states to have a solar-powered home. 

“Installing a solar panel system involves a significant upfront cost of between $15,000 to $20,000. However, the power bill savings you can achieve with a solar energy system can help you recoup installation costs in an average of eight years, according to our calculations,” the study said.

Here’s where Florida ranked on MarketWatch’s list of the best states for solar power payoff and the cities in Florida where solar panels pay themselves off years faster than the state average.

Which state has the highest potential for solar energy?

“To identify the cities where solar installation pays for itself the quickest, the MarketWatch Guides team analyzed the average local cost of solar installation and monthly electric bills with and without solar energy,” the study says.

“Using these figures, we calculated how long it takes to break even in cities across each U.S. state and ranked the ones with the quickest return on investment.”

Hawaii, where solar panels pay off in just under three years, ranked as the state where solar power pays off the fastest. Florida placed in the top 20 rankings, as the 16th-best state for solar power overall.

Here’s MarketWatch’s list of the top 20 states where those who install solar panels see the quickest return on their investment and how many years it takes for solar power to pay itself off in each state:

  1. Hawaii, 2.8 years
  2. California, 4.5 years
  3. New Hampshire, 6 years
  4. Nevada, 6.3 years 
  5. Rhode Island, 6.5 years
  6. Connecticut, 7.1 years
  7. Maine, 7.1 years
  8. Massachusetts, 7.4 years
  9. Illinois, 8.2 years
  10. Colorado, 8.5 years
  11. Texas, 8.6 years
  12. Vermont, 8.7 years
  13. Arizona, 8.7 years
  14. Kansas, 8.7 years
  15. New York, 8.9 years
  16. Florida, 9 years
  17. New Mexico, 9.2 years
  18. Alabama, 9.3 years
  19. Michigan, 9.4 years
  20. South Carolina, 9.4 years

What is the best Florida city for solar panels?

Florida’s statewide average for how long it takes for solar panels to pay themselves off sits right at nine years, but there are cities within Florida where solar power pays off faster.

The city in Florida where residents see the fastest return on their investment in solar panels is the Gulf Coast town of Largo, Florida, where MarketWatch estimates solar panels pay for themselves in just six years and four months.

Central Florida cities account for most of MarketWatch’s list of top 10 Florida cities where solar power pays for itself the fastest.

Here’s where in Florida solar panels pay off the fastest and how many years it takes for solar power to pay itself off in each city:

  1. Largo, 6.4 years
  2. Clearwater, 6.5 years
  3. Kissimmee, 6.7 years
  4. Leesburg, 6.9 years
  5. Ocala, 6.9 years
  6. Orlando, 7 years
  7. Tampa, 8.1 years
  8. Brandon, 8.2 years
  9. Panama City, 8.3 years
  10. Bonita Springs, 8.3 years

Are solar panels worth it in Florida? CFO says ‘Buyer beware’

On Wednesday, May 1, Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis released a statement warning Florida’s homeowners of higher home insurance costs and potential roof damage associated with installing solar panels.

“We’ve all seen the dramatic increase in residential solar panel sales throughout Florida, and I believe that there are some serious red flags that consumers need to be leery of including impacts to insurance costs, pushy sales tactics, and cheaply made products imported from China,” Patronis’s statement said.

“In the Florida market, there are only certain insurance companies that cover homes with solar panels, limiting the options of these households right off the bat.”

Patronis said in his statement that homeowners who opt for solar power could also see higher insurance premiums over time because solar panels require specialized coverage and sometimes need to be replaced if exposed to the elements for a long period of time.

Here are some things to consider if you’re planning to switch to solar, according to Patronis’s statement:

  • Do insurance research. Get multiple property insurance quotes to ensure the solar panels are insurable when installed on your roof and research what the impact to your premiums will be. Will they replace them in the event of a hurricane or natural disaster? Will you be liable if the panels come loose in a storm and damage someone’s property?
  • Is this product right for your roof? Most panels are installed on roofs. Ensure your home can support the installation and the wear and tear over time.
  • Don’t fall for sales pitches. Just with any purchase, be suspicious of door-to-door salesmen promising big discounts or free offers. The BBB has received numerous reports of solar panel scams promising big deals and free roofs.
  • What if you sell your home? If you are financing your solar panels, you may be on the hook for the full price if you sell your home. Read the fine print and understand your obligations when you sell your home or business.

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