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Solar Power in Florida
Solar energy production
A solar panel system in Florida, which is installed with good access to the sun, can get around 4.3 kWh of solar energy per kW installed on average per day throughout the year. Fortunately, as we all know about sunny Florida, you can expect sun throughout the year. With a solar system that is installed for maximum performance throughout the entire year, there is not a lot of difference in production from summer and winter.
Average daily solar output*
This data assumes an optimal 28° pitch for central Florida, see next section for details on optimal panel angles.
Interestingly, like many tropical areas, Florida receives the most solar irradiance in spring, rather than summer. Come summer, regular storms mean more cloud cover and erratic sunshine. The best month for solar production is April, which should produce over 5 kWh on average with a well installed system.
Per kW installed
Full year average: 4.3 kWh
Summer (Jul): 4.36 kWh
Winter (Jan): 3.78 kWh
For a 12kW system
Full year average: 51.6 kWh
Summer (Jul): 52.32 kWh
Winter (Jan): 45.36 kWh
Estimated Daily Solar Production | Per kW installed
Optimal panel angle
The optimal panel angle in central Florida for year round solar production is 28° from the horizontal, and facing due south (azimuth 180°). This allows for the most total production throughout the year. However, depending on when you use the most electricity, you may want to consider optimizing your installation for different times in the year.
If you use more solar energy in the winter than the summer (perhaps you have electric heating and electric hot water), you may want to consider optimizing your system for winter output. This is not necessarily a good idea however, as it will lower your overall output (you will make 4.18kWh per day on average throughout the year, instead of 4.33kWh). It may also cause other issues in Florida with hurricanes, as the higher the panel is from the roof, the more it acts as a sail and will require more brackets to hold it down securely.
Conversely, if you use more solar in the summer, and most houses would due to higher use of AC in the summer months, you should be looking at a lower pitch in order to maximise your summer production.
Most people in Florida would be better off with a lower panel angle than a higher one, due to higher electricity usage in summer, and also they will be more secure in super high wind conditions. Bear in mind that roofs typically have a pitch of between 15 - 30°, and it usually takes sense if you are installing on a house, to simply lie the panels flat on the roof without changing the angle. This is due to cost, fixing and aesthetics. Installs look nicer when they are flat against the roof, they are more secure, and there is extra costs involved in changing the angle, both in parts and labour.
Here is a guide to the different production you will get throughout the year with different panel angles:
Winter optimized production | 43° pitch*
Per kW installed
Full year average: 4.18 kWh
Summer (Jul): 3.86 kWh
Winter (Jan): 4.00 kWh
Summer optimized production | 13° pitch*
Per kW installed
Full year average: 4.27 kWh
Summer (Jul): 4.68 kWh
Winter (Jan): 3.34 kWh
* This data is purely theoretical, based on solar irradiance and a 12% derating, every installation is different and should expect different outputs. See below for some example installations.
Example solar panel systems
The State College of Florida Venice, have an 11.8kW system which is installed due south (180° azimuth) at a 20° pitch. This is close to the perfect direction and pitch for an install, and is a great example of the solar production that can be achieved in Florida. This installation uses Enphase micro inverters, and we can see the actual output of this system using the Enphase Enlighten software, as it is a publicly accessible system.
It is interesting to note that whilst the system produces more energy throughout the day on a sunny day in July, the energy output peak is actually a little higher in January, even though this system is not optimized for winter output. This is due to the fact that if sunlight is equal, solar panels perform better in cooler conditions.
The graph shows the energy output in 15 min intervals.
Summer solar production - July
11.8kW system facing south, with a 20° panel angle - produces 58kWh on a sunny day in July (4.9kWh per kW installed)
Winter solar production - January
11.8kW system facing south, with a 20° panel angle - produces 52kWh on a sunny day in January (4.4kWh per kW installed)
For details about installing offgrid and hybrid solar energy storage systems in Florida, visit our Battery Systems page.
Solar Installers in Florida
Check out our forum post - Solar Installers Florida, USA - for discussion on the best solar installers in Florida, and details of research that has been conducted by our community in Florida.
Some of the top ranking installers in Florida on Google are:
Urban Solar Group | Boca Raton, FL
Solar Advantage | Lutz, FL
Superior Solar | Altamonte Springs, FL
Solar-Ray Inc. | Orlando, FL
Florida Power Services | Tampa, FL
Solar Energy Labs | Jackonsville, FL
Power Production Management | Gainesville, FL
Sunshine Solar Services | Fort Lauderdale, FL
Solar-Fit | Daytona Beach, FL
Synergy Solar Panels | Miami, FL
Solar Cost in Florida
Florida is unfortunately currently (as of 2019) not a particularly solar friendly state. In this post on the forum “Solar Battery System | Florida” Dan Baker mentions that the local utilities have worked hard to block customer owned grid tie solar through regulatory red tape. However, with perfect conditions for solar, there are still plenty of people going ahead, and no doubt it will become easier and easier to install solar in the future.
To get an idea of what people are being quoted for solar in Florida, search for “Florida” in our forum. Here are a couple of examples:
Examples of some pricing that we have seen for quotes in Florida:
Panels: 12.47 kW, 43 x 290W Hanwha Qcells | Inverter: SMA Sunny Boy | Price: USD$25,000 gross ($2.00 per W). Minus $7520 federal tax rebate = $17480 net
Panels: 14 kW, 46 x 305W Hanwha Qcells Q.Peak G4 | Inverter: Enphase micro inverters | Price: USD$35,075 gross ($2.50 per W). Minus $10,523 federal tax rebate = $24,552 net
Panels: 13.4 kW, 41 x 327W SunPower AC with built in micro inverter | Price: USD$36,539 gross ($2.72 per W). Minus $10,962 federal tax rebate = $25,577 net
The federal solar tax credit is applicable to solar systems installed in Florida.
You can see more details about rebates in our What financial incentives are available? solar guide chapter.
Solar Quote Reviews
If you have a quote for a solar installation in Florida, visit our solar forum and you can have your quote reviewed by our team and community.