Why Are Solar Panels Illegal in Florida? Debunking the Myth
October 1, 2021
Confusion surrounds the legality of using solar panels in Florida. Put simply, solar panels are not illegal in Florida, but rules dictate where and how you can acquire them.
Let’s look at some of Florida’s rules and regulations when it comes to using solar panels.
Florida Solar Energy Laws and Regulations
The state has a law called the Florida Homeowners Solar Rights Act. This act gives every resident the freedom to buy and use solar panels if they want them. This seems straightforward: Why wouldn’t your state want you to use renewable energy?
While anyone can acquire solar panels, building management must usually approve them if you’re in a multiunit property. If you own a home, Florida’s Homeowners Association (HOA) would perform an inspection before and after your installation.
HOAs can’t legally prohibit anyone from acquiring solar panels (or any other renewable energy system). However, they can enact restrictions, such as height limitations if the building is close to an airport or pitch rules that require your panel orientation to be at least 45 degrees south.
If the state refuses your request to install panels, you have the right to ask why. They can’t say no without a valid, documented reason.
[Related: Energy Independence Through Solar]
Your Solar Panels and the State’s Grid
Florida’s laidback attitude about residents acquiring solar panels is great overall. It helps residents save money on their energy bills while contributing to reduced carbon emissions.
But here’s the catch. All Florida residents who have solar panels must connect their system with the city’s grid unless they’re entirely self-sufficient.
If you live in any other state, it’s your choice to connect your solar panel system to the grid (self-sufficient or not). Some people choose not to because their home doesn’t require much energy to power. Alternatively, they may prefer to store their excess energy as backup power in batteries or generators.
Folks in other states sometimes willingly connect their systems to grids because they consistently produce much more energy than they need. Plus, they enjoy the benefits that net metering provides (not to be confused with the Federal Solar Tax Credit).
In Florida, regardless of whether you have backup energy storage capabilities, you must send to the grid any excess energy above 115% of your household’s monthly kWh usage. But thanks to Florida’s great net metering programs, you’ll get credits!
Florida is serious about its efforts to power homes that experience outages. Because the state is prone to severe storms and natural disasters, it’s common for the lights to go out. Therefore, having a large supply of statewide energy as a backup helps everyone in the long run.
[Related: Preparing for the Unexpected: Batteries vs. Generators for Home Power Backup]
Solar Energy in Schools and Other Construction
Another regulation Florida holds firmly is the inclusion of solar panel systems in schools to use more renewable energy. If a school is new and under construction, Florida requires that it incorporate low-energy appliances. The school must also have eco-conscious architectural elements, like skylights and natural ventilation, to decrease energy consumption as much as possible.
But Florida targets green-focused construction plans at more than just schools. Ultimately, Florida passed this legislation to urge educational and commercial buildings to harness its abundant sunshine and use renewable energy.
Solar power is becoming increasingly popular because federal rebates and incentives are still in effect. With climate change data becoming increasingly accessible, now is a great time to invest in solar and help the planet.
[Related: Tips to Save on Energy Costs]
Harness the Sun With Freedom Solar
For more information about Florida’s laws and regulations, visit the state government’s website. To learn about Freedom Solar and how we can help you purchase and install a solar panel system for your home or business, get in touch! Call us at (877) 792-1643, or complete our online inquiry form.
Featured image credit: Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash