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Going Solar? What to Know

Wednesday, November 4, 2020   /   by Brandon Thompson

Going Solar? What to Know

Have you ever thought about going solar? Here is some information that may come in handy when deciding if you’d like to get a consultation or not.
The 2 most common types of solar when it comes to residential or commercial applications are thermal and photovoltaic. Thermal solar consists of pool panels to heat your pool, or a hot water collector to heat your home's water. They heat the water by pumping it onto the roof, passing it through the panels or collector that then warm up the water using the heat collected from the sun. Photovoltaic Solar panels produce power when exposed to sunlight to power your home.

Some benefits to going solar are:
  • Energy independence
  • Lower energy costs
  • Emergency Power Source - In some cases, both thermal can still operate when there's a power outage. Add batteries to a photovoltaic system to have emergency power.
  • Tax credits, rebates, and incentives. There is a 26% federal tax credit to go solar. It's being reduced to 22% in 2021 and then it will no longer exist. A 10% tax credit will remain for commercial use. Other states have tax credits, rebates, and incentives. While some utility companies have rebates and incentives to go solar. Go to https://www.seia.org/ for more information about solar incentives in your area.


Going Solar is also beneficial to the environment. It doesn't produce any greenhouse gases or pollution as a byproduct of producing power. 
Sounds too good to be true? Like most products, there are cons. There's some maintenance involved when you go solar. Pool panels and hot water collectors will spring leaks over time and valves will need to be replaced. It's good to inspect the system regularly. Photovoltaic is almost maintenance free. If you get a system with panel level monitoring, you can set it up to receive alerts through your phone or email if something needs attention.

Is it cost effective? Yes, most solar systems will pay for themselves in 8-10 years. For a photovoltaic system to be cost effective, you need net metering in most cases. Net metering is how utility companies reimburse you for energy that you've produced. If you deliver 100 units of energy to the utility company, they will take it off the top of your bill at the end of the billing period. Make sure your utility company has a net metering program.


If you are considering getting solar panels installed on your roof, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Reach out to your homeowner's insurance company to see if they cover solar. Some will not. 
  2. If you get a new roof at the same time you get solar, you can get a tax credit for both.
  3. If you get a system larger than 11,700 watts DC, FPL or Duke will require that you maintain a $1 million dollar liability insurance policy. I've had customers receive quotes for the insurance policy ranging between $500 and $700 annually. So sometimes it doesn't make sense to go bigger, unless you're going to go way bigger than 11,700 watts to offset the cost of the insurance. An 11,700 watt system can save you about $160-$180 / month on your power bill.
  4. Make sure you're not on budget billing once your solar is installed. The utility company will eventually correct it, but save yourself the headache.
  5. Most photovoltaic systems will not operate during a power outage unless you have batteries. They are designed to turn off when the power goes out so that you don't back feed the power lines and hurt anyone working to repair the lines. Some thermal systems have a DC powered pump that is powered by a small photovoltaic panel and will operate during a power outage so that you'll still have hot water.

Have more questions regarding solar? Contact me directly!

Brandon Thompson
REALTOR at Florida Lifestyle Realty 
Cell: (321)210-5319