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Is it illegal to power my home with solar panels in Florida?

is solar illegal in Florida?

Why Are Solar Panels Illegal in Florida?

The short answer to this question is that solar panels are not illegal in Florida. However, you may have come across this question while researching solar power options in Florida and wondered why people are asking this question. Don’t worry, we’re here to let you know not only is it legal to power your home with solar panels in Florida, but it’s also a pretty smart investment. Let’s go over why this question comes up when considering solar power in Florida as well as a few secrets on how going solar in Florida can benefit you in more ways than one!

The Law: What the Florida Solar Rights Act Says

First, let’s go over the Florida law on solar energy.

Florida Statute 163.04 forbids any binding agreement between HOAs or otherwise to prohibit a property owner from installing solar panels. Period. That means, they can try to tell you where on your roof to put them (maybe the HOA doesn’t want them to be in plain view,) but if their desired location or requirements doesn’t meet an orientation to the south or within 45° east or west of due south, they cannot stop you from installing solar panels on your roof that provide the highest efficiency for you.

Florida HOAs: What They Can and Cannot Control

Tallahassee Florida Solar Panel HomeEven though your HOA can’t stop you from going solar, we would recommend letting them know beforehand, just to save yourself a headache.  You’d still want to follow their procedures and file all necessary paperwork with them to avoid any possible litigation during or after your installation.

After you notify them, you’ll be on your way to savings! There is one thing to note, however. And this is quite possibly the thing that caused the stir of searches about why solar panels are illegal in Florida.

Is Solar Power Illegal in Florida? Here’s Why Some Think It Is

Solar power in Florida is not illegal, but some assumed it might be illegal to go off-grid with solar power in Florida. This is also false.  However, whether you are connected to the grid or not is regulated by each utility company, so it’s best to look into this with your utility company if you’re considering going off-grid completely.

There are solar panel regulations through Florida utility companies on “anti-islanding“, which just means your solar power will also shut off during a power outage. When solar panels are installed and hooked up to your utility company’s grid, you can participate in a program called net metering. But this also means when the lights go out, your solar power will go out as well. This is because your grid-tied solar panel system feeds power back into the grid and therefore you can earn money back through net metering. The same system that can give you money back on your electricity bills could put line workers at risk of injury during a power outage. There is a way around this, however, with a solar panel battery backup.

Let’s discuss briefly the difference between being grid-tied and off-grid, as well as the process of net metering, and then we’ll cover why a solar panel battery is a great investment.

Going Solar in Florida

Grid-Tied Power vs. Off-Grid

The key difference is simple: being tied to a utility company’s power grid means your solar power system will be connected to the company’s power meter, whereas being completely off the grid means you’re not connected. This means you’re generating your own energy, and with solar energy, you can only generate energy while the sun is shining, or you’ll need a battery backup to capture the excess energy your system generates. With excess solar energy stored in a battery, you’ll be able to use it for the times when the sun isn’t shining. Whereas when you’re grid tied, you have the option of using the solar energy from your battery, using the grid’s power, or selling your excess energy back through net metering.

What Exactly Is Net Metering?

Net MeteringNet metering, or net energy metering (NEM), is a program used by electric utility companies to determine your electric bill based on your net power consumption when you have solar panels.  It allows you to be fully credited for the electricity that your panels contribute to the grid. That means that you will only be charged for the difference between the amount electricity you use, vs. the electricity produced.  Basically – if you don’t use all the energy harvested by your solar panels, the power company will buy that energy back, which equals more savings for you!

How Net Metering Works

Here’s an example – let’s say your house only used 700 kWh of electricity one month, but your panels produced 850 kWh. Your utility company would then credit you for that additional 150 kWh on your next bill.

Just make sure you check with your utility provider to make sure they know you’re going solar and that you want to enroll in net metering.  And if you’re looking to be more energy-independent in Florida, you’ll want to consider a solar backup battery.

Why Get a Solar Panel Battery in Florida?

Solar panel batteries help your home stay powered during any outage, including natural disasters. They also store all that excess sunshine produced by your system. Here are just some of the benefits of having a solar panel battery in the Sunshine State.

The Benefits of A Battery Backup

Enphase Emergency Battery Backup PowerCoupling your solar panel array with a battery like the Enphase Encharge or the Tesla Powerwall 2 is a pairing like milk and cookies. Naps and rainy days. Florida and oranges. Pairing solar panels with a battery backup just makes sense, and their operation is simple.

  • Your solar panels begin powering your home at sunrise.
  • Excess energy charges the battery, especially during peak sunshine hours.
  • When the sun goes down, or during a power outage, your battery kicks on and powers you though the darkness.

Solar Incentives Available in Florida

There are plenty of Florida solar incentives you can take advantage of to help bring the overall cost of going solar down.  We already talked about net metering, but you can also receive state and federal tax credits and sales tax exemptions.  And, depending on where in Florida you live, you may be able to qualify for a PACE loan, which could potentially finance 100% of the cost of going solar, which makes bundling a battery backup that much more reasonable!

Going Solar in Florida

The Bottom Line of Going Solar in Florida: It’s Legal and a Great Idea

There’s no better time than now for the Sunshine State to utilize their sunshine! Going solar in Florida is completely legal and a sound investment for your home. With financing options, federal and state tax credits, and other incentives, going solar in Florida couldn’t be more cost-effective. With hurricane season on the horizon, it isn’t too early to make the switch and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with owning your own power and battery backup system.

We offer professional solar installations all across the state of Florida including Miami, Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, and more.

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(First published on January 21, 2021)

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