Marc Lopata: The truth about solar energy benefits in Florida – Florida Politics

3 minutes, 12 seconds Read

The sweltering heat usually associated with summer is already here to stay, and that means Floridians will be cranking up their air conditioners.

Families will try to keep indoor temperatures comfortable, causing their utility bills to go up along with the outside temperature. The heat, coupled with ongoing rate increases from our state’s largest utilities, is a perfect storm for even higher utility bills. Fortunately, many Floridians can take advantage of solar-energy technology, cost, and reliability improvements to help them reduce their electric bills.

Over the past decade, the cost of solar energy in Florida has dropped by more than 50%. This dramatic reduction highlights the growing affordability and appeal of rooftop solar power, enabling more Floridians to take advantage of renewable energy benefits.

As a solar engineer on hundreds of solar projects over the last 20 years, I’ve seen the benefits of solar in the Sunshine State firsthand. This innovative, endless energy source brings cost savings, resilience in the face of natural disasters, and economic growth.

Financially, solar energy is increasingly attractive because of installation costs dropping and utility electricity becoming more expensive every year. Homeowners across the state can expect savings of 50% or more on the energy portion of their utility bills. These savings can amount to thousands of dollars depending on the size of the home and its energy efficiency.

Solar panels are built to last for decades, and substantial evidence from hurricane-prone areas shows that panels not only protect but can strengthen roofs, helping secure roof shingles or tiles that might otherwise be damaged in a severe storm.

Beyond that, when rooftop solar is paired with battery storage, it can help keep the lights on when the rest of the neighborhood goes dark. After Hurricane Ian devastated Southwest Florida in 2022, for example, one family was able to keep their home powered thanks to rooftop solar — even keeping a neighbor’s fridge running so important medicine could stay cool.

In addition to reducing energy costs for individual homeowners, the solar industry has been a powerful engine for job creation in Florida. The state ranks second nationally in solar employment, boasting over 40,000 solar jobs. This surge in jobs strengthens the local economy while supporting community resilience by fostering a robust and sustainable energy sector.

What should Floridians consider when harnessing the power and benefits of solar energy? Investing in a solar energy system is comparable to upgrading your home with a new air conditioner, remodeling your bathroom or kitchen, or installing a swimming pool. As with these other home improvements, it’s crucial for homeowners to first dedicate time to understanding their purchase and carefully select licensed installers within their area.

Luckily, there are many credible, hardworking installers in Florida who carefully adhere to engineering standards, structural evaluations, building codes, and manufacturer specifications.

Critics argue that homeowner’s insurance may go up after a solar energy system is installed — but that is the same for those other home-improvement projects. Insurance premiums are based on the value of the home, and a solar energy system increases the value of the home.

The Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA) provides consumer resources for homeowners and lists of member companies that have demonstrated a commitment to the local industry. Homeowners should check with the North American Board of Certified Energy Professionals (NABCEP) to confirm that their salesperson, designer, installer, and company are NABCEP certified.

Unlike most home improvements, solar energy is an investment that helps the environment and will pay for itself. But solar energy offers Florida homeowners more than just cost savings — it’s a wise choice that boosts property resilience, creates jobs, and supports our local economy.

By choosing solar, Floridians aren’t just saving on their bills — they’re contributing to a brighter, more sustainable state.


Marc Lopata, PE, is President and Principal Engineer at Tampa-based Solar Island Energy.

Post Views: 0

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

Similar Posts