If you are a Florida resident interested in converting over to solar to save on electric bills and help the environment, you have probably heard of Tesla’s solar offerings. The company started by billionaire Elon Musk has expanded to the marketing of solar panels and entire Solar Roofs across the globe, and Florida residents have caught on.
Florida homeowners are moving to solar energy for savings on electric bills and federal and utility incentives. Florida also offers a Property Assessed Clean Energy program that makes solar panels more affordable to the average homeowner, and Tesla Solar has become a popular choice.
The highest power Tesla Solar Roof was implemented in Florida, coming in at nearly 800 solar tiles and an output up to 44 kilowatts. This massive Solar Roof provides enough power to offset nearly 80 percent of the home’s energy needs. You may not need that amount of power, but you can read on to learn all about Tesla’s solar options in the aptly named Sunshine State.
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Tesla Solar Can Be an Affordable Option in Florida
Saving on one’s electric bills is a primary reason for moving over to solar, but are the savings worth the overall cost? The average cost of solar power for Floridians is $2.70 per watt, which is competitive compared to other states around the country. Tesla has touted that it offers the lowest cost for solar panels in the United States.
Tesla’s cost for solar panels (before incentives) ranges from:
- $8,200 for a 4 kW system size = $2.04 per watt
- $16,400 for a 8 kW system size = $2.01 per watt
- $24,600 for a 12 kW system size = $2.01 per watt
- $32,800 for a much larger 16 kW system size = $2.01 per watt
The reason solar is attractive to Florida residents is because of the federal and utility incentives. For example, there is a federal solar tax credit that allows homeowners to claim 26 percent of the cost of their solar system as a tax deduction on income taxes. Basically, this tax incentive gives you a 26 percent rebate on your Tesla solar purchase:
- $6,068 for a 4 kW system size
- $12,136 for an 8 kW system size
- $18,204 for a 12 kW system size
- $24,272 for a much larger 16 kW system size
Applying for this tax credit is easy, as you simply fill out Form 5695 when you are filing your taxes and then receive the deduction back from the federal government (or to help offset any taxes you owe). In addition to this federal tax deduction, Florida also offers residents incentives through its Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
PACE and Net Metering Offer Further Savings
The state of Florida offers PACE loans to residents living in certain communities within 31 counties across the state. It allows you to start saving money on utility bills right away through the PACE loan. If you decide to move, this type of loan gives you the opportunity to transfer the remaining balance of the loan to the next homeowner.
Since the new homeowner has the option of paying off your original PACE loan or having the solar equipment removed, the PACE loan is a risk-free way for Floridians to attain funds for solar equipment. If you live in a select community in Florida, you qualify as long as you do not have a bankruptcy filing or overdue mortgage or tax payments.
- Net metering gives Floridians the opportunity to get compensated for the extra energy their solar system uses that is not needed for your home.
- Any excess power your solar system produces is exported to the grid and, under net metering, your utility company must compensate you at the rate you are paying for that power.
As long as you chose the correct Tesla size – do not get one that is too big – net metering may end up paying part or even all of your electric bill. A Tesla solar consultant or a solar calculator can help you figure out what size of the four options is best to cover the electrical power needs of your home throughout the day and night.
Tesla Powerwall 2 for Florida Solar Systems
In addition to saving money through solar panels, Tesla also offers a Powerwall 2 that stores energy during off-peak hours, which is when energy is least expensive, and then dispenses the energy during peak hours when it costs more. Although this can be attractive savings on one’s electric bill, it may not be needed for residents in Florida.
- Tesla’s Powerwall 2 is essentially a battery that stores energy for later use. However, since Floridians have the option of net metering, the upfront costs may not be worth the minimal savings.
- A Powerwall 2 holds 13.5 kilowatt-hours of power and costs $5,550, and many homes in Florida need two or three to fully supply their home’s power needs.
- One Powerwall will provide power for critical appliances and lights, but not enough to power the entire home, so the high costs may not be worth the savings over time.
Florida residents get compensated for the over-production of energy made by solar equipment, saving that for later through the Powerwall is not a smart choice.
Net metering basically stores the monetary value of your excess electricity at no cost to you. When you have extra energy, your utility company pays you for it. So, the expensive Powerwall 2 batteries offered by Tesla are probably worth it in other states without net metering, but not for residents of Florida who get this compensation.
Tesla’s Rental Program is Not an Option in Florida
Tesla sells solar panels and Solar Roof tiles, and the Solar Roof option replaces the entire roof of your home rather than putting solar panels on top of the existing roof. If you need to replace your roof anyway, this option is attractive since the homeowner gets a new roof made of non-solar glass tiles and solar-enabled ones.
- Option 1: Solar panels
- Option 2: Solar roof replacement
- Option 3: Solar panel rental program (not available in Florida)
Tesla also offers rental options for solar panels, but unfortunately, this option is not available right now in Florida. If you are interested in renting versus buying, you will need to keep an eye out to see if Florida is added to the list of states in which this option is available. That being said, Tesla’s solar options do have many incentives for Floridians.
Since renting is only an incentive for individuals who may not want to stay in their home for a long period, it probably does not matter that it is not available in Florida. Solar systems in Florida homes typically take between eight and nine years to pay for themselves. Therefore, renting is not ideal anyway for Florida homeowners.
Also, remember that when you are home matters when it comes to the concept of net metering. That is, if you are home most of the day when the solar energy is being stored by the sun, you will be sending less excess energy to the grid. This means you will receive less compensation from your utility company through net metering.
If you utilize the federal and state incentives for purchasing solar energy and try to cut down your usage to get paid back by your utility company through net metering, purchasing a Tesla solar system can be a lucrative option for Florida homeowners. A little research on which size is right for your home needs can equal maximum savings.
Start by reviewing your overall electric usage, how large of a system you may need, and the time of day your family uses the most energy. Then you can calculate the savings you will receive by living in Florida and see if it balances out the cost of a Tesla solar plan. And, you are exempt from paying taxes on the value added by solar panels!