Average Cost of Solar Panels in Florida: What to Expect in 2021
How much will a solar system set you back in Florida?
With a nickname like the Sunshine State, it's no wonder Florida has become one of the top states for solar energy — only Texas and California installed more megawatts in 2019 and 2020. The cost of solar panels in Florida is below the U.S. average, which makes them affordable for more potential users. There are also a number of solar tax exemptions and incentive programs in the state, which you can combine with the 26% federal tax credit to get costs even lower.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, Florida's solar panel costs have dropped by 36% in only five years, which is one reason you may have seen more of your neighbors install solar systems. In fact, total installations in the state are now approaching 100,000.
To find out for sure how much you would pay for solar in Florida, you can start getting free quotes from pre-screened solar companies in your area below.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Florida?
According to the SEIA's most recent Solar Market Insight Report, home solar systems currently have an average price of $3.03 per watt in the U.S. However, based on market research and data from top brands, we've found that the average cost of solar panels in Florida is only $2.53 per watt. In other words, solar prices in the Sunshine State are 16% lower than the U.S. average.
Based on this estimate, the typical price of a 5-kW home solar system in Florida is $12,650. However, when you deduct the 26% federal solar tax credit, the system price drops to $9,361. The following table summarizes the average prices of common system sizes in Florida, before and after the federal solar tax credit is applied:
|Size of Solar Panel System||Florida Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
While these are just average prices, they can give you an idea of what to expect when going solar in Florida. A qualified solar installer can provide an accurate quote based on a professional assessment of your property and its rooftop.
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels?
The total cost of solar panels — in Florida or elsewhere — depends on many factors. Even two projects of the same capacity using the same solar panel model can have very different prices. For example, some roofs require extra work to install solar panel racking, and the amount of wiring required can change depending on the system layout.
Let's review the main factors that determine the cost of going solar in Florida.
The price of a solar installation changes depending on the type of solar panels you pick. In general, monocrystalline panels are more expensive than polycrystalline panels, but their energy conversion efficiency is higher. In other words, you pay more for each solar panel but you also get more kilowatt-hours over time.
Pricing also depends on the brand and complexity of solar panel systems. For example, a 10-kW system with a Tesla Powerwall battery and a smart inverter is more expensive, compared with a basic 10-kW array using a standard inverter and more basic solar battery.
The cost of solar panels also depends on how you decide to pay for them, and there are three main options: paying in cash, getting a loan and signing a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). Like in any financial decision, each solar financing option has pros and cons.
- A cash payment is the lowest-cost option over time, but paying for your solar installation upfront is a major expense. For a 5-kW solar system in Florida, the average upfront payment is $12,650, and you must then wait until the next IRS declaration to claim the 26% federal tax credit.
- A loan makes solar panels easier to pay, since their cost can be split over several years, and utility bill savings can be used to pay off your loan. The downside of using loan financing for solar panels is interest, which consumes part of your savings.
- A solar lease or PPA gives you access to photovoltaic panels without owning them directly. A solar lease charges you a fixed amount per month, while a PPA charges you based on the electricity output of solar panels. The provider assumes the upfront cost and ongoing expenses, and you sign a lease/PPA contract. However, you cannot claim the federal tax credit in this case, since you're not the legal owner of the solar power system.
Regardless of how you decide to pay for solar panels, you get a source of clean energy that lasts for decades. Keep in mind that solar panels are very durable, and the best solar panels come with a power production warranty of 25 to 30 years.
Even though Florida is called the Sunshine State, the local solar power industry was very small before 2016. However, Florida's solar capacity has been booming since then, thanks to favorable laws and decreasing prices. According to the SEIA, there are more than 480 solar companies in Florida, and total investments in the state now exceed $10 billion.
Having many solar providers in Florida is great news for homeowners and businesses, as competition leads to lower prices and better services. To make sure you're getting a good deal, the best strategy is to compare free estimates from many providers. Ask them to provide a detailed quote, so you can know exactly which solar products are being installed on your rooftop.
Florida Solar Incentives
Florida not only offers abundant sunshine, but also many incentives for solar panels. However, keep in mind that incentives can vary depending on your electricity provider or county. Here are the main benefits currently available to reduce the cost of solar panels in Florida:
|Florida Solar Incentive||How it Affects the Cost of Solar Panels in Florida|
|Net metering programs||Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, Gulf Power and Tampa Electric Company all offer net metering. Surplus electricity from your solar panels is exported to the grid and subtracted from your next power bill at the retail rate.|
|State tax exemptions||Solar panels are exempt from Florida's 6% sales tax, and there is also a statewide property tax exemption. In other words, you will not be taxed for the increase in home value after going solar.|
|Local solar incentives||Certain municipalities and utility companies in Florida have their own incentives for going solar. For example, Jacksonville offers a rebate of $4,000 per home on solar battery purchases. Check your local government websites for opportunities in your area.|
|Federal solar tax credit||Officially called the solar investment tax credit (ITC), this benefit is available in all states. When installing a solar PV system, you can claim 26% of its cost as a federal tax credit.
The benefit will be available until the end of 2022, decreasing to 22% in 2023. From 2024 onward, there will only be a 10% solar federal tax credit for businesses (0% for homes).
Before going solar, check your options and make sure your system qualifies for the above incentives. A professional installer can give you an accurate estimate of how much it would cost to put panels on your roof — and help you navigate incentive applications to save money down the line. To connect with a top solar installer near you, fill out the 30-second form below.
FAQ: Cost of Solar Panels in Florida
Are solar panels in Florida worth it?
It's generally worth it to install solar panels in Florida. A 5-kW solar energy system has an average cost of $9,361 in Florida, and it can generate over $25,000 in savings during the 25-year warranty period of most solar panels. In other words, you get around $2.50 to $3 in savings for every dollar spent on upfront installation costs.
How much do solar panels cost for a 2,000-square-foot house?
This depends on your electricity bills, and you can check your annual consumption to get a better idea of the solar capacity you need. With Florida's sunshine, you can expect to generate over 1,600 kWh for every kilowatt of installed capacity (assuming favorable roof conditions).
For example, if your home consumes 12,800 kWh per year, your solar panel system must have around 8 kW of capacity. In Florida, a solar system of this size costs around $14,978 after the 26% federal tax credit.
Does Florida have a solar tax credit?
Solar panels are exempt from sales and property taxes in Florida. This means you save 6% upfront on your purchase, and the increase in home value that results from solar panels is not taxable. Some municipalities in Florida have their own rebates and incentives as well.
Are solar panels free in Florida?
Currently, there are no programs offering free solar installations in Florida. However, you can go solar for $0 upfront by getting a loan or by signing a lease or Power Purchase Agreement. This way, you can start saving on power bills right away, and those savings can be used to pay the loan/lease/PPA.
Leonardo David is an electromechanical engineer, MBA, energy consultant and technical writer. His energy-efficiency and solar consulting experience covers sectors including banking, textile manufacturing, plastics processing, pharmaceutics, education, food processing, fast food, real estate and retail. He has also been writing articles about energy and engineering topics since 2015.
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