Factors toward determining if solar power is worth it for you
Basically, whether solar is worth it depends on whether you have the funds (and the time) to see your investment pay off in the long run. It also depends on some specifics about your home and location. And in Florida there are some additional factors and programs available that make solar considerably more affordable.
Is your home suited for solar panels?
Some roofs simply can’t handle the combined weight of 28 – 34 solar panels. We can give you the weight per square foot of any system you’re looking at. If the weight of the system right for your power needs falls in line with what your roof can handle, you’re good to go.
What solar incentives are available in Florida?
- The 30% Federal ITC
Florida homeowners can claim 30% of their solar system’s cost as a deduction on their income taxes. Also, if your tax liability is less than 30% of your solar system’s cost, you can roll the remaining balance over to the next year for up to 10 years, essentially a 30% discount on your solar power system.
- Net Metering
In sunny Orlando, Florida it’s highly likely there will be times when your solar system produces a surplus of energy. This excess power can be exported to the grid. With net metering your utility company is required to compensate you at the rate you pay for power.
- Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE program Florida)
Orange county does have a PACE financing program. With this program homeowners can secure solar system loans which are paid for through a property tax increase to your local government. PACE loans can finance solar systems as well as energy efficiency upgrades as well. If you move you can transfer the remaining balance to the next property owner. The new owner can decide to keep paying the loan or have the equipment removed.
What if you don’t own your home?
It’s not impossible but considerably more difficult. Clearly installing solar panels will greatly alter the property in ways that can make even the most flexible landlord refuse. You may be able to convince your landlord of the increased property value, or you might even consider participating in or starting a community solar power.
How shady is your property?
Every ray of sunlight that your panels don’t catch, is an increase in the time it takes to see a return on your investment. In some cases it might just be a matter of cutting down one or two trees near the home, but if your house is deep in the woods, you’ll either have to clear more or resign yourself to the fact that it may not be worth the cost of the investment.
A long-term investment
If you take your average annual power bill, and divide it by the cost of solar power installation, typically you’re looking at about 13 years, which is more than half the average lifespan of a solar panel, and that’s just when it starts to decline if efficiency. Even ‘past their prime’ panels still generate decent amounts of power for some time. But will you be living in that same house for that long?
If you think you might move in the next 5 or 10 years, installing solar panels means you’ll have raised the property value of the home, but you’re stuck with the installation cost and no time to really enjoy how it feels not to pay the power company every month. Or you can possibly get a solar loan and at least apply your investment to the selling price of your home.