Which Solar Energy Companies Are Florida’s Top 9 in January?
It only seems sense that more and more Sunshine State households are switching to solar power. Since 2015, Florida has seen a steady increase in the installation of residential solar systems.
Many Floridians wishing to install solar panels on their homes base their decision on which firm offers the lowest solar panels. Saving money is wonderful, but there are many of other things to think about when selecting a solar installer in the winter, such as warranties or energy storage options.
It might be challenging to choose which firm will provide the highest-quality solar installations given the large number of solar installers vying for business in Florida’s booming solar power industry. The Solarsystems Reviews Team did the legwork for you and identified these nine as the top solar energy providers in Florida:
How to Save Money in Florida When Hiring a Solar Company
Solar energy is not cheap by any means, even though the cost of its installation has greatly decreased in Florida. Before accounting for any financial incentives, tax credits, or rebates related to solar energy, the typical Floridian will normally pay $29,000 for their residential solar system.
Florida has a lower cost per watt of solar energy ($2.53) than the national average ($2.66), but Florida residents often need larger solar systems than the average American because they use more electricity on a daily basis. (Using that air conditioning all summer long is probably to blame.)
Compared to the average American, who only need a 9 kW solar panel system, Floridians build systems that are 11.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in size to offset their energy needs. For consistency’s sake, the table below compares the cost of an 11.5 kW system in Florida to the cost of a system in America as a whole.
Do not be put off by the size of these numbers. Keep in mind that your solar investment will significantly reduce or perhaps eliminate your need for electricity. According to SunPower, estimated energy savings in Florida range from 80% to 109%, which means you could spend virtually nothing to keep your home cool throughout the summer. 2
Additionally, there are many ways to reduce the cost of solar panels in Florida:
Take advantage of financial incentives for solar power
Pick your solar panel provider carefully.
Obtain several estimates
If at all possible, pay in cash
Benefit from Financial Incentives for Solar Energy
The federal solar tax credit (ITC), which is worth 30% of the cost of your entire system, is available to every homeowner that installs solar panels in the United States. That reduces your $29,095 system’s cost in Florida to around $20,300, saving you nearly $9,000!
|FLORIDA SOLAR INCENTIVE||PROGRAM OVERVIEW|
|Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)||Homeowners may claim the federal solar ITC as a tax credit on their federal tax returns. Incentives for solar panel systems purchased through 2032 are worth 30% of their total cost. If Congress doesn’t renew it, the credit will phase out by 2035, falling to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034, and then 22% in 2035.|
|Florida Net Metering Programs||When homeowners’ solar panels generate excess electricity and it is exported to the local power grid, NEM schemes provide them credits.|
|Florida Tax Exemptions||Solar and other renewable energy equipment is free from Florida property taxes and sales taxes.|
|Local Incentives||Town, municipal, and county-level incentives, rebates, and low-interest financing schemes to promote regional solar installations|
Selecting a solar panel provider wisely
If any of the aforementioned solar providers catch your eye, be sure to click the dropdown to find out more about their prices.
The dollar signs we’ve given each company should be taken into consideration if you’re seeking for the cheapest solar panels. The good news is that Florida receives a lot of sunshine, so even solar panels of inferior caliber will function effectively there.
On the other hand, selecting higher-quality panels can enable you to create a less expensive solar system, saving you money. For instance, SunPower solar panels are more expensive initially, but because of their superior efficiency, you may purchase less of them and still produce enough electricity to power your home.
Obtain Several Quotes
It’s not a problem if you like the looks of two or more of the solar companies on this list. In fact, we advise contacting at least three solar energy providers.
Because every home is unique, solar businesses don’t provide specific rates. But after evaluating your household’s needs, almost all of them will provide you with a free, no-obligation price. Additionally, if you like one firm but receive a lower price from another, you might be able to convince them to match the lower quote.
With Cash (If You Can)
Most individuals don’t have $29,000 lying around, but the more cash you can pay for your solar system up front, the less expensive it will be.
You save the most money over time by making cash purchases because you don’t have to pay interest. However, while solar loans could make your equipment more reasonable in the short run, you’ll wind up paying more for your system overall due to the additional interest you’ll accrue over time.
If you must obtain a solar loan, compare offers before signing any documents. Additionally, we advise contacting a few nearby banks to find out whether they provide low-interest home improvement loans for solar systems.
Programs for discounts and referrals
Once you get in touch with a solar firm, find out if there are any discounts available that you might be qualified for. Solar installers may provide seasonal discounts, elderly, veteran, and other discounts, just like merchants do. By taking advantage of incentives, you can significantly reduce the cost of installing solar panels.
Do you know of any neighbors in your area who wish to go solar? Many solar businesses pay recommendations with money. For instance, SunVena gives $500 for referring two customers, and significant benefits — like six months of free solar — for referring three or more.
Why is there a lack of power purchase agreements (PPAs) in Florida?
An example of a solar lease arrangement is a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). With a PPA, as opposed to a solar lease, you make monthly payments to buy the electricity the panels produce rather than leasing the solar equipment for a set monthly fee.
Sadly, Florida is one of the four states that forbids solar PPAs. This is so because, according to Florida law, anyone who sells energy to end-users (customers like you) qualifies as a “public utility” and must abide by a set of state regulations pertaining to public utilities.
The wording of the legislation states that only the property owner is permitted to construct and sell power to consumers, therefore your solar company would not be permitted to sell you solar electricity until the panels are installed on your roof.
Will Solar Increase Your Florida Home’s Value?
Numerous studies have demonstrated that solar panels actually raise a property’s value, and one such study, the 2022 Solarsystems poll, found that 63% of participants would pay more for a home with solar panels than for a home without.
According to data from Zillow, properties with solar panels typically sell for 4% more than those without. The survey found that in Florida, where properties in Orlando sold for 4.6% more, the amount was much larger. 5
In 2022, the average price of a home in Florida was about $315,000. The value of this house would increase by around $12,600 if solar panels were added.
Should Floridians go with a pro or do it themselves when installing solar panels?
If you fancy yourself a YouTube guru, you might be considering whether you could watch some tutorials and carry out a do-it-yourself solar panel installation to save some cash on labor.
You should be aware that installing solar panels is a considerably trickier home improvement project than repairing a leaky sink or changing a roof shingle. It entails several activities you might not be capable of, like electrical work, permitting, grid connectivity, and many more.
Let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of installing solar panels on your own.
Florida Solar Installation Benefits: You Can Save Money
It should go without saying that when you engage a solar contractor, you are paying them for their time and services, such as the design and labor associated with installing solar panels. By cutting out these two fees and doing it yourself, you can make some savings.
You Can Begin Little
Want to test out solar power without setting up a whole system of solar panels? An excellent method to “test drive” the solar lifestyle is with a DIY solar panel kit.
The Winter Weather Is Not a Problem
You won’t have weather difficulties if you try to install solar panels in the fall or winter because Florida weather is generally mild, aside from hurricane season.
DIY solar installation in Florida has disadvantages
You Run Structural and Safety Risks
If you don’t have the necessary skills, the money you save by installing your own solar panels will instead be used to repair or replace other equipment, possibly even your roof. In the worst case scenario, you can potentially have medical expenses for injuries you sustained while climbing onto a roof with large solar equipment.
You won’t Have Extensive Warranty Protection
Manufacturer warranties for inverters and batteries normally range from 10 to 25 years, and warranties for solar panels are typically 25 years. But many of these manufacturers will only uphold such warranties if the system was installed by a qualified, licensed contractor. As a result, if you install a solar system yourself, you could not be covered by a warranty.
Permitting, inspections, and interconnection are your responsibility.
You might need to be a licensed electrician to install your solar panel system depending on where you reside. Even if that isn’t the case, you’ll still need permissions and to determine grid connections, which in the State of Florida calls for particular knowledge and skills.
Even the simplest mistakes could result in your local government rejecting your application for a permit, or worse, a serious electrical accident. Professional solar installers also have years of expertise installing solar energy systems in Florida, so they can set you up with greater rebates or incentives for solar equipment that you might not be aware of if you go solar on your own.
Bottom line: We still advise speaking with a few licensed solar providers first if you’re thinking about performing a DIY solar installation. The majority of solar installation businesses provide free consultations, and they will survey your home to determine whether you are even a good candidate for solar panels. As a result, even if you opt to handle solar panel installation yourself, you’ll have a better understanding of how the process works.
What Qualities Should Florida Residents Seek in a Solar Installer?
Florida’s top rooftop solar installers
Selecting the ideal solar installation for your needs is a top consideration if you want to go solar in Florida. The following characteristics of a solar provider are particularly crucial for homes in Florida:
- robust warranty protection
- Experience in years
- positive client feedback
- Costs and available financing
- Sectoral affiliations
Good Warranty Protection
You want to do all in your power to protect your solar investment after spending thousands of dollars, especially if you reside in a state like Florida where severe storms occur frequently.
Sadly, solar warranties frequently do not cover weather-related damage (your homeowner’s insurance should, though). But if your solar installer’s workmanship guarantee still covers repairs or underperformance, you may still be able to get your panels fixed.
Years of business experience
A lot of fly-by-night solar enterprises are attempting to cash in on Florida’s growing interest in solar energy by burning through their clients in the process.
Florida installers are up against 200+ other businesses in the market. Therefore, it says a lot about a firm’s customer service and happiness if it can keep consumers for more than ten years, especially a local Florida solar company.
Many solar companies boast on their gleaming websites how much they adore and appreciate their consumers, but how much of this is actually true? Make sure to read both the positive and negative customer reviews on third-party websites so you can understand what you’re getting into.
Even when working with one of the greatest solar firms in Florida, it’s vital to keep in mind that not everyone will have the ideal experience.
Costs and Available Financing
Although it’s not everything, money is undoubtedly something. Florida residents have higher energy needs than the rest of the country, so it’s crucial to pick a solar contractor who will give you the best system value for your money.
Nevertheless, solar financing solutions are essential because the cheapest solar provider isn’t usually the best solar company. In the event that you had a positive experience with a solar provider but are unable to pay them $30,000 for their system this year, inquire as to whether they would be open to working on other finance arrangements.
We prefer to work with solar firms who have NABCEP-certified technicians, are members of a national solar association (such SEIA), and have badges from reputable solar panel manufacturers on their websites. It demonstrates credibility and knowledge well.
Additionally, we advise picking installers who are connected to regional groups. Because it is a chosen solar service provider for Duke Energy, Orange County Public Schools, Orlando Utility Commission, and University of Central Florida, for instance, Solar-Ray received high marks from Solarsystems Reviews.
Florida’s Best Solar Installer
The best solar installers in Florida are represented by these nine companies, but SunPower tops our Solarsystems rankings.
Florida residents can save money on solar installations since SunPower provides the highest efficient panels, which enable them to construct smaller systems while still achieving maximum energy output. Additionally, your system’s components are all covered by a 25-year warranty that covers workmanship, equipment, and power output.
SunPower provides all of the other available solar financing alternatives, including cash purchases, loans, and leases, which increases the number of Floridians who can go solar despite Florida’s ban on PPAs. As a result, in our opinion, it is Florida’s top solar company.
SunPower is the finest solar installation in Florida, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best solar firm for you. To compare prices and services, we advise you to contact many installers.
How We Ranked Florida’s Solar Companies Using Our Methodology
To ensure that our users choose an installation that is dependable, trustworthy, and environmentally conscious, we first determine the aspects that are most important before ranking the top solar providers. These elements are divided into the categories below. After that, we compare these elements to the standard for the sector (a company meeting the industry standard in all categories would earn 4 stars in our rating system).
Our methodology is unique to Florida homes and unaffected by business ties in order to give unbiased evaluations and honest reviews.
- Solar energy (20%)
- Reputation, credentials, and certifications (20%)
- Customer Support & Solar Warranty (15%)
- Options for Solar Financing (15%)
- Knowledge (10%)
- (10) Availability
- Factors affecting social, environmental, and corporate governance (10%)
If Florida solar companies provide in-house installations, energy storage systems (solar batteries), and home-efficiency audits or renovations, they will receive a perfect score in this category. If a business provides extra services that we don’t deem necessary, such as electric vehicle chargers, house thermostats, etc., then it can receive bonus points. Only installations of solar panels and backup batteries are included in the industry standard that we use as a benchmark.
Reputation, credentials, and certifications
If a business is NABCEP-certified, has a minimum of four stars across its most recent 100 reviews on Google, is rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and has at least four stars on Glassdoor to indicate employee satisfaction and a low turnover rate, it will receive a perfect score in this category. Additional certifications, such as those from the Building Performance Institute (BPI) or LEED, as well as any from regional Florida sources, earn bonus points. On the other side, if a business has a history of lawsuits or violations of customer rights, we flag it for additional assessment.
Warranty & Customer Support for Solar
If a business provides 25-year warranties that cover performance, product, and workmanship, it receives a perfect score in this category. We compare businesses to the industry norm, which calls for 25-year product and performance warranties and a 10-year craftsmanship warranty. We also extensively examine each company’s track record for upholding warranties after installation, particularly with regard to homes in Florida.
Options for Solar Financing
If a business provides numerous financing choices, including internal options in addition to those with partner organizations like regional and local Florida banks, it receives a perfect score in this category. We do not dock points for companies that don’t provide leases and PPAs, though we will note it, as many solar companies prefer not to do so in the sake of consumer welfare.
If a business has more than ten years of expertise installing solar in the State of Florida, it receives a perfect score on this list. We compare your experience against the industry standard, which is at least five years of work.
If a business provides service throughout the entire state of Florida, it receives a perfect score in this category. Servicing the majority of the state or at least two significant metropolises is the benchmark against which we measure our performance.
Factors Affecting Social, Environmental, and Corporate Governance
If a business discloses public data, addresses end-of-life (EoL) products or processes, and exhibits a dedication to improving the State of Florida or the local communities it serves, it receives a perfect score in this category.