Tourists visiting Orlando are increasingly seeing more than cartoon mice: solar panels stacked on rooftops.
The City of Central Florida has set a goal of using 100% clean renewable energy sources by 2050. Meanwhile, many clean energy initiatives are underway, with private companies moving to increase solar usage.
Going solar is an attractive option in the Sunshine State, which lives up to its name. Florida ranks her fourth overall for solar energy potential, but the average electricity cost in October 2023 was $167.55.
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“Orlando has one of the highest concentrations of solar power in general,” said Tom, a civil engineer, director of the Florida Solar Energy Industry Association, and owner of solar power consulting firm Raina or Shine. says Raina Greenfest.
When considering the potential of solar energy, you should consider solar power costs, installers, and incentives before making a decision.
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At Greenfest, we recommend thoroughly vetting potential contractors and asking lots of questions before proceeding with an installation.
“They need to compare who is actually doing the work,” Greenfest said. “If homeowners have questions, they want to talk to someone and get answers. It's very important to work with a contractor you can trust. Since you're in Orlando, you shouldn't have a problem.”
How much do solar panels cost in Orlando
The main decision to go solar is cost. According to data from FindEnergy.com, the average cost of solar panels in Florida is $28,890 for a 9kW system, or $3.21 per watt. The total cost depends on the number of solar panels you get. Ultimately, you will need a system that is large enough to save you money.
Across Florida, the cost of solar power has fallen 42% over the past decade, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association.
“Prices have gone down,” Greenfest said. “Right now, the market is saturated with products, but that wasn't the case not too long ago. We have installers readily available and interest rates are down too, so it's very viable given this combination. It will be a great option.”
Other cost factors include the type of panel you choose for installation and whether there are any complex structures on the roof, such as a chimney. Greenfest says if you've had a roof for more than 20 years, you may want to consider replacing it first before going solar.
“If your roof is in good condition, contact multiple contractors and compare quotes, especially if you live in Orlando,” she said.
Before adding solar panels, it's also a good idea to check the energy efficiency of your appliances to see if they can reduce your consumption, says Greenfest. This reduces the number of panels needed, potentially leading to cost savings.
solar panel cost in florida
|Median system size (kW)
|price per watt
|Total installation cost (before incentives)
|Cost after 30% federal solar tax credit
Orlando solar panel incentives and rebates
The biggest financial incentive for going solar in Orlando is the federal solar power tax credit, known as the Residential Clean Energy Credit. This will reimburse you up to 30% of your installation costs.
Florida does not offer tax credits or rebates for installation, but it does have a net metering program and is exempt from both property taxes and solar sales taxes.
florida solar panel incentives
|residential clean energy credits
|This federal tax credit allows you to get up to 30% of your solar panel installation costs back on your next year's taxes.
|Net metering allows you to sell the energy produced by your solar panels but not used in your home back to the power grid and use it as a credit on your electricity bill.
|Property tax exemption
|The installation price of solar panels is exempt from property tax assessment.
|Exemption from consumption tax
|Solar panels and certain equipment are exempt from Florida sales tax.
How to pay for solar panels in Orlando
Although power purchase agreements are not available in Florida, there are several options to pay for the installation of solar panels.
cash: Initial installation costs can be prohibitive, but if you have the easy financing, you'll start saving money right away by eliminating interest and fees associated with potential loans.
Solar power loan: Usually provided by the installer, but if you want to finance your installation over the long term, you can take out a solar-specific loan.
Home equity loan: A home equity loan or HELOC is also an option. Because these are tied to collateral (your home), you can potentially get a good interest rate. However, the appraisal process can take a long time, and if you can't repay the loan, you could lose your home.
Personal loan: Personal loans through financial institutions are one option, but interest rates tend to be higher.
Solar power lease: When you have a solar lease agreement, you pay a monthly payment to a solar panel company to install panels on your home, but you don't own the panels. In this case, you are not eligible for federal tax credits and do not actually own the system.
Other installation factors to be aware of
Renting and home ownership: If you live in a rental home and want to buy a home relatively soon, the cost of installing solar panels may not be worth the investment. Additionally, the choice of whether or not to purchase solar panels is ultimately up to the homeowner, or homeowner.
Insurance coverage: Solar panels can be damaged by extreme weather and other external forces. You should check your homeowner's insurance policy to determine if your panels are covered and contact your insurance company to notify them.
Homeowners Association Rules: Florida has laws that limit how homeowner associations can restrict solar panels, but you should check your HOA regulations to see what their rules are.
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