Florida is a diverse state — from coasts to swamps and from alligators to theme parks. If there’s one thing that is consistent throughout the state, it’s the sunny weather nearly all year round. The Sunshine State has the sunniest winter climate in the eastern U.S. and the highest average January temperature in the country. As some cities enjoy upwards of 250 sunny days a year, Florida homes are prime real estate for solar panels.
Solar panels are appealing to homeowners for several reasons. They help homes sell faster and add an average of $24,705 to a home’s value. Adding to this, Florida residents have the ninth highest average electricity bills in the country — $123 a month. Solar panels are a great way to cut down on utility costs, especially in one of the sunniest states in the country.
With solar panels, homeowners give back to the environment and earn tax credits. Along with the U.S. federal government’s 30 percent solar tax credit, Florida offers statewide incentives. Solar energy system purchases in Florida are exempt from state sales and use tax, receive a rebate from Florida Power and Light, and benefit from net metering by the Florida Public Service Commission.
Despite these benefits, Florida ranks third in solar capacity among U.S. states. It’s 13th in installations, and solar represents less than 1 percent of Florida’s energy generation. This is primarily due to the state’s strict regulations for solar installation. Currently, only select state utilities — including Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, and Tampa Electric — can sell power directly to consumers. Solar power generators and third-party companies must first sell to one of those utilities before homeowners can make their purchase.
Solar supporters hope to change the law and allow people to buy solar electricity from private companies, not just regulated utilities. Thanks to a continued nationwide move toward solar energy, there’s a good chance this law will change in the near future.
Floridians may have to take a few extra steps to install solar, but the results make it worthwhile. Installing solar panels can improve your home’s property value and will allow you to reap the ongoing benefits of environmentally friendly living and reduced electricity bills. It’s good for you, the environment, and your home.
Jonathan Deesing is a freelance writer focused on sustainability in real estate. He’s written for Homes.com, SolarPowerAuthority.com and RISMedia’s Housecall.