How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Buyer’s Guide for Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Basking in the glow of over 3000 hours of sunshine a year, Fort Lauderdale residents have easy access to one of the most important natural resources available. Fort Lauderdale participates in the GoSolar Broward Rooftop Solar Challenge, which is pushing resolutions designed to promote solar power throughout the state. Residents interested in solar panel installation will find important information in this basic buying guide designed to kick-start their pursuit of solar power.
Considered a sub-tropical climate, Fort Lauderdale receives approximately 63 inches of rain annually spread over 128 days with zero inches of snow. The average temperature in mid July hovers around 90 degrees with an average low of 57.8 in January. With over 246 days of sunshine each year, Fort Lauderdale is a prime location for solar power panels.
Solar Permits in Ft. Lauderdale
Solar panel installation in Fort Lauderdale, Florida requires obtaining an applicable building permit. Most often, the onus falls on your solar contractor to obtain the necessary permits for your solar project. However, residents of the City of Fort Lauderdale who wish to apply for a permit to install solar panels themselves can do so online after registering for an online account. You can also apply in person at the City of Fort Lauderdale Building Services, Sustainable Development Center, 700 NW 19th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Fl 33311 or call for general information by dialing (954) 828-6520.
Common Solar Panel Configurations
There are many reasons people choose to go solar. It might be a desire to lower their monthly utility costs, disconnect from the grid or to gain a little independence or protection against the unexpected rate hikes common with big power companies. The list below details the three most common types of solar panel configurations.
- A Grid-Tie Solar Panel Configuration consists of several solar panels connected to a breaker in your home’s main circuit panel box. An inverter is necessary to convert the DC “Direct Current” produced by the panels to AC “Alternating Current” required to power your home. The converted power is back fed through the circuit breaker and into your service panel. A net meter monitors the amount of electricity produced by your solar panels. Excess energy you do not use is diverted into the main power grid and can be sold to the applicable power company. This type of configuration is the most common and acts a supplement to grid power. You will still need the grid to power your home at night or on cloudy days that will decrease the amount of electricity produced by your solar panel production.
- A Stand Alone/Off-Grid Solar Panel Configuration consists of the panels, an inverter, a transfer switch, a charge controller and a bank of batteries for storage. This system is designed for remote locations when grid power is unattainable. These systems, while more expensive, are designed to produce 100% of your power needs immediately when the panels are producing power, or later, with power supplied from the batteries.
- A Solar Electric Grid-Tie/ Battery Backup System incorporates components from both systems mentioned above. It is designed to produce power for immediate use, divert excess power to the grid and to charge a bank of batteries. In the event of a grid failure, the system disconnects from the grid and charges the batteries, which in turn powers the inverter to supply power to your home or business.
Hiring a Ft. Lauderdale Contractor
Property owners with a strong skill set in construction and electrical applications might consider installing their own solar panel system. However, since the State of Florida Building Code is one of the strictest in the nation and solar technology and installation is complicated, it is recommended that you hire a solar contractor for the project. The solar contractor is one of the most important elements of solar panel installation. The solar contractor is responsible for determining the size and appropriate type of equipment needed for the structure, the quality of the installation, and overseeing the inspection schedules and interconnection phases of the project.
Solar Rebates and Incentives for Ft. Lauderdale
Although the state’s solar policies and incentive programs are lagging for an area perfect for solar power, there are rebates and incentives available to Fort Lauderdale residents. Taxpayers can claim a credit of 30% on qualified expenditures such as solar power systems through the federal government’s Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit through the end of 2016. Florida power companies offer different incentive or rebate programs but they are constantly changing, expiring or being refunded. To find current or future cost saving programs visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. The website provides a current list of the available programs by state or zip code.