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 in Tampa, FL
With an average of 244 days of sunshine a year, Tampa, Florida is a prime location for solar electric systems. The costs of almost year-round air conditioning, not to mention heating your pool, can make your energy bills prohibitively expensive. Installing a solar electric system can reduce, and possibly eliminate your monthly energy bill, all while helping you to lead a more sustainable life, decreasing your environmental footprint.
Now is a great time to invest in solar as prices have plummeted 70% since 1998. The average residential solar system in Florida costs between $15,000-25,000. Factor the price of running your home with fossil-fuel based energy over the next 25 years, and you’ll find that a solar energy system provides a considerable return on your investment.
What are Your Solar Options in Tampa?
While there are lots of ways to integrate solar technology into your home, the three most popular methods in the Tampa/St. Pete area are:
- Residential Solar Panels: Rooftop solar systems are the most popular option for homeowners because residential roofs usually have enough space and are well-maintained for maximum energy production. Your roof should be clear and panels should ideally be south facing for best results.
- Solar Pool Heating System: A solar pool heating system usually costs between $3,000 and $4,000 to buy and install. This provides a payback of between 1.5 and 7 years, depending on your local energy costs. Solar pool heating systems also typically last longer than gas and heat pump pool heaters. By installing a solar pool heating system, you can significantly reduce pool water heating costs, while extending your swimming season year round.
- Solar Outdoor Lighting: One of the most inexpensive solar solutions in Tampa is outdoor lighting. They require no wiring and can easily be installed. These lights come with sensors that turn the lights on at dusk and turn them off in the morning. Some of them have motion detectors that add a measure of security to homes.
Rebates and Incentives for Floridians
You can receive a federal tax credit for your solar system–up to 30% of the cost of your system with no maximum. Existing homes and new construction qualify for the credit, as well as principal residences and secondary homes. Rental properties are not eligible for the credit. These credits expire on December 31, 2016. Credits are available for both solar panels and solar water heaters.
There are also incentives available at the local level, but unfortunately not for long. Tampa Electric’s Solar Rebate Program set aside $1.5 million per year to support solar power in the area, $500,000 is for solar thermal, and $1,000,000 is for solar PV systems. This particular program will not be offered after December 31st, 2015, but you may still be able to apply for rebates (up to $1,000 per unit) for the purchase and installation of a solar water heater.
How Do Solar Panels Stand Up to Hurricane Season?
Solar panels can actually provide an additional level of protection to your home during a storm. Additionally, if there’s ever a problem with the roof that needs to be repaired, panels can easily be removed. Most solar panels are not attached directly to the roof itself, but rather to a mounted railing system. Installers add sealants to fill in any gaps and often the mounts are surrounded by metal flashing, or coverings that act as an extra barrier from the elements.
Notable Solar Installation in the Tampa Area
The Tampa Bay Watch Marine and Education Center recently installed a 54 KW photovoltaic (PV) solar system that will enable the center to defray up to 85% of its annual electrical consumption. Over its 25-year lifespan, the PV system will result in the reduction of 3.1 million tons of CO2, equal to planting 36,000 trees and offset driving 3.3 million miles of driving the average car.