I was at my dentist’s office the other day and he knew that we had installed Collier County’s largest solar system on the William C Huff Company’s roof to run it’s (14) 5 ton air conditioners, lighting and other power for our 44,000 square foot high ceiling storage. So, he had lots of questions because he was “thinking” of putting solar on his house. Having done a lot of research on the subject of solar power, plus a background in electrical engineering and, having 2 ½ years’ experience with an actual system, I had a lot of answers.
I promised him that I would follow-up with an email outlining what I knew to be true about solar and conventional electricity. I was amazed at how many truths there are that most Floridians are totally unaware of. Here’s the list I sent to my dentist who just purchased a Tesla car (for the environment?!?).
Solar Power Florida
A few things that I know to be true about solar vs conventional electricity for a solar powered Florida.
- The average Florida home generates over 12,000 pounds of CO2 per year
- The average car generates about 12,000 pounds of CO2 per year
- Florida produces over 108 billion pounds of CO2 each year making electricity for the 9 million homes.
- Less than 3% of all electricity in Florida is produced by renewable resources (solar)
- The average solar system for a Florida home is about $22,000
- There is still a 30% federal tax credit available for the cost of all solar related expenses: system, installation, battery back-up and all related hardware
- There is solar financing at very competitive rates for 100% of the costs
- The cost to finance solar, not including a battery, is roughly the same as the average electric bill…meaning it costs almost nothing to go solar
- Properly installed solar systems should be able to reduce the average electric bill down to around $12-$15/month (connection fee to the power company)
- The cost of solar, nationally, goes up on average of 6%/year. This means that a $200/month bill today will be over $680/month in 20 years!
- Most financed systems are a 7 year loan so, the system that lasts 25 years, is costing nothing for over 18 years.
- The cost for an average house solar system, when included in a conventional mortgage (new house), is only about $100/month…355 less than an average electric bill.
- All properly measured and installed systems should reduce the homeowners’ carbon footprint to zero. Most states have “net zero” metering which means the system over produces during the day time and the power company buys back the excess and then sells it back during evening and cloudy days…netting zero carbon footprint
- Most power companies will credit, yearly, for excess power generated above and beyond what was used during the year (In FL this is only at .10 of the cost, though)
- Solar panels are good for 25 years
- Many solar panels now have the inverter, what turns DC electric into AC electric, built into the panels. This will save having another component in the system (inverters only have a warranty of about 10-15 years)
- Properly installed systems meet all hurricane requirements
- Solar systems on houses increase their value and, according to the National Association of Realtors, they sell 3-6 months sooner than homes without solar
- An average back-up battery system will cost about $8500 installed
- Homeowners cannot use their solar system when power goes out. Power companies shut the connection off to avoid “back feeding” the power lines to prevent shock to line workers
- With a battery back-up, solar homes are allowed to produce and use their electricity during power outages, eliminating the need for generators
- A 14 KWH battery back-up can sustain the power of an average home through the evening and cloudy days. It also can charge an electric car at night.
- Powerwall 2 batteries from Tesla (hopefully readily available in the summer) can be run in tandem to store even more power. A Dominos in Australia installed 8 of them to run their store
- Most solar systems can be installed in 1-2 days.
- Properly installed solar systems do not damage existing roofs
- Panels can easily be removed if the roof needs repair
- Panels can be attached to any roof surface. Tile is the hardest to attach to. Metal roofs are the easiest.
- Many homeowners are choosing to redo their roof surface (if it is over 12 years old) when they install the panels.
- Homeowner associations cannot prevent homeowners from installing solar…federal law super-cedes any association by-laws.
Ok, so there are more than just a few reasons why there should a mostly solar poweredFlorida. There is only one reason that we don’t, and here it is:
- The power companies in Florida purposely keep prices so low that 99% of Floridians feel there is no reason to go solar. I have heard from actual solar advocates that they don’t need solar because “Florida electricity is so cheap”.
Given that there are at least 29 reasons to one for going solar, why hasn’t everyone gone solar in Florida? I, for one, don’t believe in advocating for something that I do not get behind, like caring about our environment. Sure recycling plastic bottles is a good thing but, the true facts remain; the price we pay for conventional electricity might be cheap but, it is the single biggest polluter to our delicate environment.
I welcome all comments and/or questions on this topic. My hope is that this will get reposted many, many times so that the public can start seeing the truth. The time is now to make decisions about our children’s future. My challenge to Floridians is to stop pointing fingers at political parties and go get a quote, install solar and then YOU can be the “CHANGE” that we are always talking about!