Florida’s Top Cities for Solar Energy
March 29, 2022
“Florida’s leadership on solar has not only provided residents with clean, renewable power but has also given other cities an excellent example on how to make it happen,” – Ryann Lynn, Environment Florida Research & Policy Center
The Environment America Research & Policy Center, a national network of environmental groups, released a report ranking the top solar energy cities.
In this report, four Florida cities were recognized for their use of solar energy. However, a fifth “Solar Star” city is making big moves, despite not having the population numbers to make the list.
Wondering if your Florida city has been recognized for its use and low cost of solar energy? It’s no surprise that residents of the Sunshine State are doing their part in harnessing their most abundant resource. What’s more, Florida’s prices for going solar are actually slightly below the national average.
Jacksonville comes in among Florida’s top solar cities, ranking 19 in the nation. The abundance of sunshine (nearly 1,800 peak sun hours annually) and various local incentives make the green energy source even more attractive.
Aside from fighting climate change, many people are interested in harnessing solar energy to cut their expenses. In Jacksonville, solar panel purchases are exempt from sales tax so buyers are saving 6% outright on their purchase.
Additionally, you can look forward to saving roughly $800 during your first year of solar panel use. Furthermore, properties using solar panels are increasing in value.
It’s also important to realize that the increase in home resale value is coming in before taxes — a win-win for solar panel users.
- Property tax exemptions
- Investment tax credit (ITC)
- State sales tax exemptions
- And more!
While we think of Florida as being sunny all the time, summer storms call for some cloudy days. Luckily, Tampa residents and business owners are able to switch between the electrical grid and solar panels as their needs change.
Plus, Tampa Electric Company (TECO) makes it easy for users to send their excess energy back into the grid, allowing residents to accumulate solar credits thanks to net metering.
[Related: Eco-Friendly Stores in Tampa We Love]
Orlando comes in at 32 on the national list of top solar cities. The cost of purchasing solar panels in Orlando, and in Florida in general, is lower than the national average.
For instance, while some cities see price tags closer to $35,000, Orlando residents and business owners are looking at an average cost of between $10,000 and $13,000. This initial cost difference, plus local rebates and incentives, makes going solar in Florida a very attractive option.
Purchasing solar panels in Miami is slightly more than in Orlando, but it’s still much less than the rest of the country. Moreover, Miami comes in at 53 on the national list of best solar cities.
Initial investment is between $12,000 and $15,000, but many incentive programs may offset that cost even further. Then, Florida’s sales tax exemption and other local, state, and federal incentives make going solar in Miami a long-term cost-saving solution.
While Tallahassee didn’t make it to the national list, you shouldn’t write off the city when it comes to going solar. In fact, Tallahassee is unranked only because it didn’t make the national report’s population requirements but it still has an impressive solar capacity.
For instance, the Tallahassee International Airport has a 64-megawatt solar farm. This alone provides enough solar energy to name Tallahassee a “Solar Star.”
Florida’s capital city continues to make notable steps in its effort to reach 100% net clean, renewable energy by the year 2050.
According to Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey, “With the completion of our second solar farm at our airport, we are a national leader producing 328 watts of solar energy per resident, and we are the first city in Florida to power 100 percent of our city buildings with solar energy.”
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Featured image via Unsplash