Why Are Solar Panels Illegal in Florida? Debunking the Myth
October 1, 2021
Confusion surrounds the legality of using solar panels in Florida. To put things simply, solar panels are not illegal in Florida, but rules dictate where and how you can acquire them.
Let’s take a 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 that allows 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 utilize renewable energy?
While anyone can acquire solar panels, they usually need to be approved by the building management if you’re in a multi-unit 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), but sometimes 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.
But 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 also contributing to reduced carbon emissions.
But the catch is that all Florida residents who choose to have solar panels need to connect their system with the city’s grid unless they are entirely self-sufficient.
If you live in any other state, whether you’re fully energy-sufficient or not, it’s a choice to connect your solar panel system to the grid. Some people choose not to since their home doesn’t require much energy to power, or they prefer to store their excess energy as backup power in batteries or generators.
Some folks in other states willingly connect their system to the grid because they consistently produce much more energy than they need and 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, any excess energy above 115% of a household’s monthly kWh usage is required to be sent to the grid. 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. Since the state is prone to severe storms and natural disasters, it’s common for the lights to go out, so having a large supply of statewide energy as a backup helps everyone in the long run.
Solar Energy in Schools and Other Construction
Another regulation Florida holds firmly is the inclusion of solar panel systems in schools to utilize more renewable energy. If a school is new and under construction, Florida requires that they incorporate low-energy appliances and eco-conscious architectural elements such as skylights and natural ventilation to decrease energy consumption as much as possible.
But green-focused construction plans are targeted at more than just schools. Florida ultimately enacted this legislation to urge educational and commercial buildings to take advantage of the state’s naturally abundant sunshine and use renewable energy wherever possible.
Solar power is becoming increasingly popular since federal rebates and incentives are still in effect, and with information on climate change becoming increasingly accessible, now is a great time to invest in solar panels and begin contributing to the planet’s health.
[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. Or to learn more about Freedom Solar and how we can help you purchase and install your own solar panel system for your home or business, call us at +1 (877) 792-1643 or complete our online inquiry form.