Solar Installation in Sarasota
How Much do Solar Panels Cost in Sarasota?
So how much are solar panels going to cost you in Sarasota? It looks like as of November of 2021, solar panels are going to run you anywhere from $2.15 – $2.40 per watt in Sarasota, which is cheap compared to many other places. This means that for an average single family home with a 5 to 6 Kw system, your cost is going to be anywhere between $10,750 to $14,400, and of course it could be higher or lower based on a number of factors. And yes, that’s a lot of money, but you have to understand that compared to many places in the United States, that’s actually a very good price. Furthermore, your price stands to be reduced by thousands of dollars based on various incentives, rebates, PBI (performance based incentives) programs, etc. So you could actually come out of this thing in a very, very good place financially.
What are the benefits of going solar?
- State Net Metering Laws- Florida’s net metering laws are set up to encourage users to adopt solar power systems. Net metering will be explained a little further down in the article, but just understand that net metering is an absolute essential when it comes to getting your solar panels to “pay” for themselves by selling power back into the grid.
- Statewide Interconnection Standards- Within Florida, they have required standards for any company setting up electric lines to make it easier to connect your solar panels to the grid. Florida has statewide standards, so anywhere you do your project in the state you should be safe.
- Performance Based Incentives- These are incentive payments based on the power your system actually generates, and Florida has them (they call them “Solar Power Performance Payments”). Your payment will be based on the number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs your system creates according to your meter. The energy you produce will be credited as SRECs (solar renewable energy credits), which fluctuate in value according to supply and demand.
- Florida Property Tax Exemption- Your property taxes in Florida cannot legally be reassessed due to the addition of a solar power system, so your property taxes shouldn’t go up.
- Florida Sales Tax Exemption- Solar power systems are exempt from Florida state sales taxes, which can save you 6% off your entire purchase, potentially hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
- Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery Program- (MACRS) A system that allows owners of businesses to recover some costs of assets they have purchased over time through an income tax deduction. For solar panels or any other solar equipment, business owners may deduct up to 85% of the cost of the equipment from their federal income tax liability. (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/macrs.asp)
- And never forget the federal tax credit! Currently the federal government offers a tax credit of 26% of the cost of your system, so you’re actually saving quite a lot off this one all by itself.
How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?
As a general rule, solar panels tend to increase resale value of homes by something like 4%, so you’re looking at anywhere from a $8-15,000 increase in home value for an average house. The average cost of a single family home in Sarasota is estimated to be between $380-420,000, meaning a 4% increase could up the value of your home by as much as $16,800 if you go by this estimate. According to https://www.floridapowerservices.com/sarasota-solar-power-company/, the value of a home increases as much as $20,000 for every $1,000 in annual energy savings- an optimistic estimate, but certainly something to think about when considering the addition of solar panels to your home.
What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in the state of Sarasota?
The average “payback” period for solar panels in the state of Florida is 9-10 years. This means that after rebates, incentives and savings on average you’ll have saved or earned the entire amount of your purchase and installation in 9-10 years. On average, commercial solar panels last for 20-25 years, meaning once they’ve paid for themselves your panels are going to be providing “free” electricity for the next 10-15 years.
How do I get solar panels installed in Sarasota?
After one cursory internet search, I found 17 “solar” companies operating in Sarasota alone. If you take into account the greater Sarasota metropolitan area, you find a few more companies, and if you take Tampa Bay into account, you have a plethora of choices. Now, not all companies from Tampa may be willing to make the short drive to Sarasota to do a solar installation, but some will, so we will include a couple from that area in this review.
Company Name: Solar Direct
Address: 6935 15th St E Ste 120, Sarasota, FL 34243
Years in Business: 35
Reviews: 4 / 5 stars Facebook (27 reviews), 4.7 / 5 Better Business Bureau, 3 / 5 Yelp (8 reviews), 3.8 / 5 Angi
The Good: A long time in business means lots of experience, very nice and professional looking website, lots of web presence that inspires confidence
The Bad: 3 complaints in the last three years with the BBB, some sketchy reviews on multiple websites
Summary: Solar Direct was founded in 1986 by Kirk Maust, Solar Direct looks to be one of the leading solar companies in the state of Florida. The company claims on Yelp to have dealt with some 85,000 customers during the lifespan of the company, which would come to an impressive 2428.6 people per year- a number I’m not sure I believe, but lets go with it for now. If you’re in any kind of business for that long, you’re bound to have a few negative interactions sooner or later, and Solar Direct is no exception. They do have lower reviews than many of the companies I’ve looked at, but they also have *more* reviews than most of the companies I’ve looked at. And frankly, if they’ve been in business this long, they probably know what they’re doing. A lot of the negative reviews seem to be based around “bad communication”, and I only found one that really seemed to harp on bad or unethical business practices. So overall, Solar Direct is definitely a company to at least consider or speak to when in the market for solar panels.
Company Name: Brilliant Harvest
Address: 1718 Independence Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34234
Years in Business: 12
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (10 reviews), 3 / 5 Yelp (2 reviews), 3.8 / 5 Solar Reviews (4 reviews)
The Good: Very nice website, lots of looks at their recent work, gushing reviews on facebook
The Bad: Not BBB accredited
Founded in 2009 by Bill Johnson, one thing I can say for certain about Brilliant Harvest is that lots of people absolutely love the people who run it. Almost every positive review remarks on how knowledgeable, reliable, friendly and helpful the staff are. Literally the only negative review I found about the company said that they refused to do an add-on to a system installed by another company “without an explanation”, which honestly sounds like a smart business practice if you ask me. One troubling thing is the lack of BBB accreditation- something I don’t understand out of a reputable 12 year old business. Not sure what that’s all about, but I wouldn’t let that trouble me if I was looking for a solar company to deal with in the Sarasota area, because these guys seem to be a good one.
Company Name: Excel Home Solar
Address: 3900 31st St N Ste A, Saint Petersburg, FL 33714
Years in Business: 5
Reviews: 4.6 / 5 Better Business Bureau (20 reviews), 5 / 5 Home Advisor (5 reviews), 5 / 5 Yelp (2 reviews), 5 / 5 Facebook (26 reviews)
The Good: Most of the reviews this company receives are good
The Bad: Short time in business, 4 complaints with BBB in just 5 years of operation, not BBB accredited
Summary: As of the time this article was written (12/11/21), their website appears to be down, and no amount of tinkering or trying different links could get me to it. This is likely a server issue, but it doesn’t inspire confidence. Coupled with the lack of BBB accreditation and 4 complaints filed against them with the BBB in just 5 years of operation casts some serious shade on this company. I will not say not to do business with them however, as they have a very large number of positive reviews out there, and anybody can get a few cranky customers that make them look bad. RE the complains with the BBB, the company does seem to have made an effort to address and fix the problems. So overall, Excel Home Solar may be a very good company that has had some bad luck.
Company Name: Gulfport Energy Systems & Service
Address: 5320 Gulfport Blvd S, Gulfport, FL 33707
Years in Business: 30
Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (3 reviews),
The Good: 30-32 years in business depending on which website you look at
The Bad: Weird, outdated website; Not BBB accredited, very little web presence
Summary: So this is another company that really offers very little proof that they actually exist. I say that jokingly, but the truth is that this company is a phantom. Maybe it’s the name just not lending itself to internet searches, but there’s just not a lot out there. In addition, the company’s website looks extremely dated- as in, 1990s AOL homepage level. None of this means the company isn’t good or trustworthy, only that I can’t find out a lot about it to tell you. So by all means, check with them before making a decision on who to use for your solar installation, but don’t expect to find out a lot just on the internet.
Florida- the real sunshine state, despite what you may have heard about California. Nowhere else in America does solar power make more sense. You can expect warm, sunny weather most of the year, and you can expect hurricanes the rest of the year. Either way, you’re going to be glad you invested in solar energy, whether that’s because your air conditioning bill goes down dramatically or because you still have electricity when the most recent hurricane knocks out power to everybody else in town. Solar energy in Florida is one of the best investments you’ll ever make, and it’s more affordable in Florida than almost everywhere else in America. So what’s holding you back?