How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Florida? 2024 – MarketWatch

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Cost by System Size in Florida

Your home energy consumption determines what size solar panel system you need. If you live in Florida, each kilowatt of solar capacity can generate around 1,500 kWh of clean energy per year. You can work with a solar installer to determine how many solar panels you need to produce enough energy for your home.

Generally, a home using 15,000 kWh of energy per year will need a 10 kW system, while a home using 7,500 kWh of energy per year will need a 5 kW system. The most efficient solar panels have a typical wattage of between 370W and 440W. Translated, you would need around 23 to 27 panels for a 10 kW system and 12 to 14 solar panels for a 5 kW system.

The average cost of home solar systems in Florida is $3.31 per watt. The following table provides the estimated cost of solar installations with system sizes ranging from 5 kW to 10 kW, both before and after the 30% federal tax credit.

System Size System Cost* Cost After Federal Tax  Credit
5 kW $16,550 $11,585
6 kW $19,860 $13,902
6 kW $23,170 $16,219
8 kW $26,480 $18,536
9 kW $29,790 $20,853
10 kW $33,100 $23,170

*We based system cost data on price-per-watt ranges reported by SunPower.

How Much Can You Save With Solar in Florida?

Considering Florida is nicknamed the Sunshine State, it should come as no surprise that local solar power potential is very high. According to the latest Solar Market Insight Report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Florida is the leading state for solar with 2,499 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity during the first half of 2023 alone. For comparison, California came in second place with 1,648 MW of installed solar and Texas in third place with 1,292 MW.

Savings by System Size

The below chart estimates the annual savings and payback period you can expect when installing solar panel systems ranging from 5 kW to 10 kW in Florida.

We calculated power bill savings by multiplying annual solar generation by residential electricity prices. We estimated annual solar generation using the PVWatts Calculator, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and obtained residential electricity prices from the data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Our calculations use 14.98 cents per kWh, the latest price figure available for Florida as of October 2023.

To calculate the payback period, we used the net system cost after subtracting the 30% federal tax credit divided by the estimated annual savings.

Note: Energy savings and payback periods represent estimated values that may vary depending on installation costs, energy bills, roof conditions and other local factors.

What Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Florida?

Solar panel costs are influenced by various factors, ranging from local legislation to your specific energy needs. We’ve listed some of the most significant factors below.

  • Net-metering: Net-metering allows you to transfer surplus electricity from your solar power system into the power grid. Your utility company subtracts this energy from your next electric bill at the retail rate. Investor-owned Florida utility companies (Florida Power & Light, Gulf Power, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Company) offer net-metering programs.
  • Payment method: Most solar companies offer at least two of these payment options: purchasing your solar panel system up-front, taking out a solar loan or signing a lease. (Power purchase agreements, or PPAs, are not allowed in Florida). Paying for the system up-front is the most cost-effective option because you avoid interest rates and get access to tax incentives. Choosing a solar lease has less up-front costs but disqualifies you from cost-saving incentives since you don’t own the system.
  • Solar panel type: Monocrystalline solar panels are the most popular option for residential installations because of their high efficiency rates. However, they’re more expensive than other types of solar panels. Polycrystalline panels cost less but have lower efficiency rates. Thin-film solar panels are the cheapest but are best for smaller projects, such as converting a shed or RV to solar energy. 
  • Solar tax credits: Solar tax credits provide financial relief for solar panel installations. Learn more about the incentives offered in Florida below.
  • System size: Your energy needs dictate how many solar panels your home requires. The average Floridian installs a 5 kW system. Assuming you use standard 250-watt panels, that equates to approximately 20 panels at roughly $11,000. Larger systems are more expensive because they require more panels and have higher installation costs.

How To Save Money on Solar Panels

There are multiple ways to save on solar panel costs in Florida, including the following:

Claim Federal and State Incentives

Florida offers two state incentives for solar panels:

  • Sales tax exemption: Florida does not charge you the state’s 6% sales tax when you purchase solar equipment. So if you purchase a 6 kW system for $19,860, you would save $1,192.
  • Property tax exemption: In Florida, your county will not tax you for the increase in home value after installing solar panels. If you own a $400,000 home with a 0.98% tax rate and solar panels increase your property value to $425,000, your taxes stay the same. In this example, you would be saving $245 per year.

You can combine these solar tax exemptions with the federal tax credit, a nationwide solar incentive that allows you to claim 30% of your total system cost towards your federal tax burden. If a 6 kW solar system has a price of $19,860, the tax credit would equal $5,958 and decrease the net cost of your system to $13,902.

Enroll in Net Metering

Florida has a state net metering policy that allows you to send excess solar panel production to the grid in exchange for billing credits from local electric companies. Net metering programs are especially helpful around noon when solar panels reach their peak output. If your home is empty during the day and most of your solar electricity goes to the grid, you receive a power bill credit, and the value of the unused energy is not lost.

Duke Energy and Florida Power & Light (FPL) have the two largest net metering programs in Florida. If your system is smaller than 10 kW, the application fee is $0 and you do not need to provide liability insurance.

Compare Quotes from Multiple Installers

By comparing quotes from multiple solar companies, you can make sure you are getting the best possible deal. Ideally, look for a solar company that offers high-quality panels at a fair price. As a reference, the typical price range for solar panels in Florida is $2.53 to $4.10 per watt, with an average cost of $3.31 per watt.

When shopping around for providers, ask each company for a detailed breakdown of solar offers instead of a lump sum to know exactly what you are purchasing. If you get an expensive offer, ask the provider if it includes additional components such as solar batteries or electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

Here are our picks for the top solar companies in Florida, according to industry research and state-level market research. While prices and services vary, each company offers multiple solar financing options and solid warranties.

How To Pay for Solar Panels

The upfront cost of installing solar panels can be high at $15,000 to $20,000 on average, but installers typically offer several purchasing options to make your solar project more affordable.

  • If you have the funds readily available, you can cover your solar system cost with an upfront cash purchase.
  • You can get a solar loan, sometimes for little to no money down, and pay the system off over time with monthly power bill savings.
  • You can sign a solar lease, in which the provider owns the solar system and you pay a monthly fee to use it. However, you cannot claim certain solar incentives with a lease.
  • You can sign a power purchase agreement (PPA), which is similar to a lease. Instead of paying a fixed monthly fee, you pay for the electricity generated at a price below the local electric tariff. You also cannot claim solar incentives.

You can use the following table to compare the popularity of different solar purchasing options in the Sunshine State. We based the data on responses to our October 2023 survey of 1,000 homeowners with solar nationwide, filtered by a total of 66 respondents from Florida. Based on our survey, cash purchases are the most popular option in Florida, chosen by over 50% of solar owners, followed by loan financing.

Financing Option Percentage of Florida Respondents
Full cash purchase 52%
Solar loan 23%
Solar lease 17%
Power purchase agreement (PPA) 9%

Our Financing Recommendation

If you cannot purchase a system in cash, we recommend a solar loan as the next best financing option for Floridians. Generally, solar loans have lower monthly payments than solar leases and PPAs. You will also own the solar panels directly, which means you can claim the 30% federal tax credit and other incentives.

Solar leases and PPAs are less demanding on your credit score but most of your savings go to monthly payments and you will never own the system. The solar company providing the lease or PPA also claims and keeps any incentives because it is the legal owner of the system. We recommend solar leases and PPAs only if you don’t have access to solar loans.

Are Solar Panels Worth It in Florida?

We recommend installing solar panels in Florida since you can take advantage of the state’s abundant sunshine, favorable net metering policy and other solar incentives.

A 6 kW solar system can generate around 9,000 kWh to 9,800 kWh of energy per year in a sunny city such as Miami or Tampa. Considering the average electric tariff of 14.98 cents per kWh, the corresponding annual savings can range from $1,348 to $1,468 per year.

After subtracting the 30% federal tax credit, you can expect to pay a net price of $13,902 for a 6 kW solar system in Florida. Considering the estimated savings of $1,348 to $1,468 per year, you can expect a payback period of 9.5 to 10.3 years.

A 10-year payback period can seem long, but the lifespan of high-quality solar panels is even longer. There are now several solar manufacturers that offer a 25-year or more product warranty. For example, SunPower Maxeon panels have a 40-year warranty, which means you get 30 years of guaranteed electricity production after the 10-year payback period. Even with a shorter 25-year warranty, you get 15 years of free electricity after the payback period in Florida.

State solar incentives can also make investing in the technology worth it in Florida. For example, solar power systems are exempt from state sales and property taxes. So if you own a $400,000 home and its value rises to $430,000 after a solar installation, you don’t pay property taxes for the $30,000 value increase.

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