How Solar Works In Florida

how-solar-works-in-Florida-diagram,

How solar works in Florida is important to know because every state is different about how solar is done. So, if you are considering going solar in Florida knowing all the ingredients is helpful. This article is going to cover all the aspects of home solar in Florida from beginning to end. We’ll cover the following:

  • Florida Solar Operates on a Grid-Tied System
  • Battery Back-Up
  • How Homes Use Electricity
  • Solar Panels Used In Florida & Operational Equipment
  • Federal Tax Credit (ITC)
  • Florida Laws and Rules

Florida Is a Grid-Tied State for Solar

The first thing to cover is Florida is a grid-tied state which means your home stays connected to the grid at all times. This also means at a minimum any home with solar panels gets a monthly power bill for the service charge. Grid-Tied is a money saver because it eliminates the need for expensive and bulky battery storage systems for the minimum service charge.

All the energy created y the solar panels is DC and feeds through an inverter that converts to AC. The AC power created gets fed through a special 2-way meter that measures your power coming and going.

Should your system produce less than needed for any month will be charged for the difference plus the service charge. The power company’s service charge is usually the first charge you see on your power bill. The service charge is usually around $9 to $16 and has to be paid regardless of credits or debits.

What Happens To Excess Solar Power Generated?

One of the most asked questions is what happens to excess power created? The power companies in Florida have to give you real credits but for the most part, they pay you about a quarter of what they charge you. This is an important reason to not put too big of a solar system, the ROI is poor.

The complete opposite is true about the energy you consume because you’re getting full credit for what you use. You also do not have any state or local taxes for some additional savings.

That covers how a grid-tied system works and now we can move on to power back-up systems.

Solar Power Back-Up Systems

Battery back-ups & storage are an absolute necessity for a lot of people who have medical conditions that require never losing power. That is the only reason why a back-up system has real value to some people but most don’t need it. Power outages are so infrequent and there is no return on investment like there is with solar panels.

There are many different types of power back-up systems. The most common is generators, some run on gasoline and some on propane. Either way, generators are very expensive to run at the time of use. Propane tanks are very popular because they are large underground tanks but can cost $600 to fill-up. Generators are not cost-effective at the time of use but are also expensive to buy.

Having sold generator back-up systems it’s my belief they are a horrible investment. The main reason is how often they get used versus the cost, we don’t lose power often enough to justify that cost. At least with a battery back-up & storage system, the energy source is free, unlike generators.

Solar System Battery Back-Ups are Going To Improve Rapidly Beyond 2020

Battery back-ups are another alternative with continuously improving back-up systems. This is the area of home solar where the improvements are focused on in 2020.

It’s, difficult to improve the solar panels because there really isn’t that much to them. Battery back-ups are without question where most of the advancements in home solar will happen over the next 10 to 20 years. A big reason is these batteries are being researched and engineered by so many different entities, like Tesla automobiles for example. They are making the advancements in batteries which will translate to solar, and it’s not just Tesla making battery-operated automobiles.

Creating power from the sun is the easy part, where to store is an entirely different issue. I believe the grid-tied system is a good idea because it reduces the cost and gives you a place to store your energy.

Back to battery back-ups, if you do want to get a back-up system try to buy some time if you can. Batteries will improve in performance and the cost will go down in a few years. Solar panels will not improve that dramatically if at all over the next ten years.

How Homes Use Electricity

No two homes use electricity the same because of all the contributing factors. How old are the appliances, air conditioning, insulation and how many people live in the home? Some like more lights on, some like less lighting and some run the air on 72 and some run it at 78? So how do you know what size system you need? The size of your system is determined by your average monthly kilowatt usage.

It can be difficult to offset your power bill all 12 months without an oversized system which I do not recommend. Some people don’t care about having an oversized system but I try to just offset as close as possible to the power you use.

Type of Solar Panels & Operational Equipment

PV Solar diagram, how solar works in florida, your solar advocate,

The type of solar panels used in Florida are Photo-Voltaic and produce DC power. Direct Current is low voltage power used for safety. There are no moving parts, just a solar panel filled with Solar Cells. The reason why PV panels come with 25-year warranties is that there are no moving parts so it’s not much that can break. PV Solar panels come in different voltage sizes. The voltage determines how many panels are required for an array to create the size system a home needs.

String Inverter

solar inverter array, how solar works in florida, your solar advocate,

Above is an example of a string inverter on the left that feeds through a 2-way meter measuring kilowatt-hours used and kilowatt-hours produced by a solar system (meter provided by the power company). On the right is the main feed to the grid with a Shutdown breaker.

There are quite a few brands of Solar Panels and Inverters available in different sizes and specs. The size of a system determines the equipment required.

Solar Installation and Roof Safety

Quite surprisingly, roof rails for mounting the panels require very few penetrations if any at all depending on what type of roof the home has. Professional installers have the expertise to protect a roof otherwise, it will come back on them.

Although you can replace a roof after going solar it’s best for saving money to have a roof not needing a replacement for at least 10 years. But many people replace their roofs at the same time they go solar.

Solar Tax Credits

Please see: Florida Solar Tax Credit 2020: Step By Step Guide explains exactly how the Federal Solar Tax Credit Works? More importantly, learn if solar will work for you?

Solar Tax Credit Is a Part of How Solar Works In Florida

solar tax credits, how solar works in florida,

In 2020 the investment tax credit for solar systems in Florida is 26%. If your system is $20,000 your tax credit is $5200. The net cost of your system is $14,800. How do you actually receive that $5200 is the real question?

Any tax credit earned by installing The Investment Tax Credit (ITC), also known as a federal solar tax credit, allows you to deduct 26 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. The ITC applies to both residential and commercial systems, and there is no cap on the value or size of a system.

Here’s how the Federal tax credit works, you deduct the tax credit from your actual taxes owed or pre-paid. So if you owe or have pre-paid $5200 in taxes for the year 2020 and your tax credit is $5200, you owe nothing in taxes. But If you pre-pay your taxes then you will get a $5200 refund.

Now if your taxes were $2,100 and your tax credit is $5200 you can carry forward the difference for up to five years. Although you saved $2100 in 2020 you can still deduct take the tax credit the next year until you have reached $5,200.

How Solar Pays For Itself

Your best savings is getting a solar system that offsets as close as possible to the power usage of your home, but not more. Your power company charges the lowest rate on your bill for the first 1000 KwH’s. This means even if you use more power than the solar system produces, you’re paying the power company’s lowest price for any excess.

In the ideal scenario, you want your power bill savings over five to six years to add up to the purchase price of your system. The system ends up costing you the exact same money you were spending anyway with the power company. Then you will reap amazing monthly savings for the next 15 to 20 years after it already paid for itself. That’s a good sound investment with the power company’s money. At that point, the system will already have made enough money for you that you can modernize your system 15 or 20 years down the road.

No Matter What They Tell You All Warranties are “Manufacturer”

Every single home no matter what the size uses different amounts of electricity. That’s the only thing that matters when it comes to knowing what size system is needed but be sure to get expert advice from a licensed contractor. Kilowatt-hours are the main figure needed to determine what size system you need to off-set your power bill.

Solar panels are designed to last about 40 years and are warranted for 25 years. There are no
moving parts, keep the panels clean and they’ll make you money every day.
That’s what solar is all about, energy has value! A home solar system is simply
your very own power company.

A Solar Companies’ Cost Breakdown

Add-Ons To Every Solar Proposal Cost of Add-Ons
The Cost of Salesperson $3000
Sales Manager $1500
Proposal Builders and Permitting Department $1000
Overhead: Rent, Auto Insurance, Vehicles, and Utilities $1000
Cost of Leads and Marketing $1000
Points for Low Interest 20 Year Loan Terms (Frequently Hidden Cost) $2500
Solar Panels, Inverter, Installation $15,000
Solar Company Profit $5000
Total $30,000
The national average solar system is $3.25 kWh which totals out to $22,750. Many Companies are cost-cutting from the example above total using lower quality equipment in order to be competitive. The above example is proposals when I worked for a Florida Solar Company.

Federal ITC Is 26% Off The Above Cost for Qualified Buyers
(Many Solar Companies Use Tax Credit as a down-payment 12 to 15 months after the deal is closed)

The reason why solar companies are structured this way is that the solar company doesn’t pay the additional costs, the buyer does.

The solar company doesn’t lay out any of the costs until the finance company funds their account. For this reason, they can’t break-away from the above business model.

“Your Solar Advocate” Eliminates The Following Costs of Home Solar

Add-Ons To Every Solar Proposal Cost of Add-Ons
The Cost of Salesperson $3000
Sales Manager $1500
Proposal Builders and Permitting Department $1000
Overhead: Rent, Auto Insurance, Vehicles, and Utilities $1000
Cost of Leads and Marketing $1000
Points for Low Interest 20 Year Loan Terms (Frequently Hidden Cost) $2500
Solar Panels, Inverter, Installation $15,000
Solar Company Profit $5000
Total Including Your Solar Advocate Fee $16,200
The total cost comes out to 2.32 per kWh
Federal ITC Is 26% Off The Above Cost for Qualified Buyers.

How Solar Pays For Itself

Your best savings is getting a solar system that offsets as close as possible to the power usage of your home, but not more. Your power company charges the lowest rate on your bill for the first 1000 KwH’s. This means even if you use more power than the solar system produces, you’re paying the power company’s lowest price for any excess.

In the ideal scenario, you want your power bill savings over five to six years to add up to the purchase price of your system. The system ends up costing you the exact same money you were spending anyway with the power company. Then you will reap amazing monthly savings for the next 15 to 20 years after it already paid for itself. That’s a good sound investment with the power company’s money. At that point, the system will already have made enough money for you that you can modernize your system 15 or 20 years down the road.

No Matter What They Tell You All Warranties are “Manufacturer”

No solar company can know for certain they will be in business next year let alone twenty years from now. Any warranty they claim in addition to manufacturer can’t be guaranteed.

Solar panels are designed to last about 40 years and are warranted for 25 years. There are no moving parts, keep the panels clean and they’ll make you money every day. Keep in mind solar production costs for the power company costs more to produce than for the homeowner. The power company has to buy or lease land and build a foundation for the panels. You already have a place to put it for free so there is no additional costs for the homeowner.

This means the power companies are very confident in the longevity of the solar panels and equipment. The power companies willingness to invest into today’s technology suggests the equipment will last.
Energy has value and that’s what solar is all about. A home solar system is a power company that you own!

Get A Free Estimate for What You Can Go Solar for With Expert Advice From "Your Solar Advocate"

Every single home no matter what the size uses different amounts of electricity. That’s the only thing that matters when it comes to knowing what size system is needed but be sure to get expert advice from a licensed contractor. Kilowatt-hours are the main figure needed to determine what size system you need to off-set your power bill.

“Your Solar Advocate” does not share your information with anyone under any circumstances without your consent. Personal information is not required throughout the entire process of going solar. “Your Solar Advocate” does not require your social security numbers, driver’s license numbers or Credit Checks!

“Your Solar Advocate” uses your information for Advocacy purposes only, to serve you better. We do not Sell Solar we provide expert knowledge about Solar to assist you in Going Solar for a lower cost! Assistance with purchasing equipment, permitting & Design and Installation.

Because we are “Your Solar Advocate”, we do not make purchases, we make the arrangements for you to make the purchases. All for one fee regardless of the size of the system.

We act strictly as an expert solar advocate for you. We inform you of the most important things you need to know such as the size of the system, the best location of the system, wholesale prices on different size systems and expert installation.
The list of services goes on, but the bottom line is the bottom line. Including our advocacy fee, you will save a bare minimum of $6000 for any 7K home solar system or larger.
The larger the system the more you save because we do not raise our fee regardless of the size of the system.

Get A Free Estimate When You Provide Your Average Monthly kWh Used?

  • Provide a copy of your electric bill and we can determine the size solar system required. or Check your electric bill for average monthly kilowatt-hours used and input into the comment box below. We will then provide you what this solar system will cost when you use "Your Solar Advocate" Consulting Firm

The Following Is How Solar Works In Florida Legal Information

Laws and Rules for Solar In Florida

Florida law forbids any entity, including homeowner associations from prohibiting the installation of solar or other renewable energy devices on Florida buildings. An association may require the approval of system installation and may establish restrictions for installations.

Florida Home Owners Solar Rights Act

CHAPTER 163.04
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PROGRAMS
Florida Statutes

163.04 Energy devices based on renewable resources.–

1) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter or other provision of general or special law, the adoption of an ordinance by a governing body, as those terms are defined in this chapter, which prohibits or has the effect of prohibiting the installation of solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources is expressly prohibited.

(2) No deed restrictions, covenants, or similar binding agreements running with the land shall prohibit or have the effect of prohibiting solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based on renewable resources from being installed on buildings erected on the lots or parcels covered by the deed restrictions, covenants, or binding agreements. 

You Can Not Be Denied Solar – That’s How Solar Works In Florida

A property owner may not be denied permission to install solar collectors or other energy devices based on renewable resources by any entity granted the power or right in any deed restriction, covenant, or similar binding agreement to approve, forbid, control, or direct alteration of property with respect to residential dwellings not exceeding three stories in height. For purposes of this subsection, such entity may determine the specific location where solar collectors may be installed on the roof within an orientation to the south or within 45 degrees east or west of due south provided that such determination does not impair the effective operation of the solar collectors.

(3) In any litigation arising under the provisions of this section, the prevailing party shall be entitled to costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.

(4) The legislative intent in enacting these provisions is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by encouraging the development and use of renewable resources in order to conserve and protect the value of land, buildings, and resources by preventing the adoption of measures which will have the ultimate effect, however unintended, of driving the costs of owning and operating commercial or residential property beyond the capacity of private owners to maintain. This section shall not apply to patio railings in condominiums, cooperatives, or apartments.
History.–s. 8, ch. 80-163; s. 1, ch. 92-89; s. 14, ch. 93-249.