In sunny Tampa, you not only have the natural rays to set up your home to receive and process alternate energy, but you’ve got a host of companies ready to outfit your abode in natural energy fashion. Solar energy reduces your carbon footprint, energy bills and sets your home apart in the emerging green-design architecture scene.
Major savings to your energy bill could come from the fact that the average solar-powered home in Florida generates between 75 and 100 percent of its own free power. Sound impossible? Our research, and the plethora of quality installation companies in your area, will quickly disavow that conception. We soaked up the abundant rays of solar energy research and converted them for you as ready-to-use tips in your home energy upgrade.
Freshome’s Top Solar Panel Installers in Tampa
Getting a solar energy system isn’t just about throwing shiny new cells on your roof — a new solar setup means additional wiring and strategic panel placement.
The growing market of solar energy companies means that you have plenty of options to choose from — and plenty of details that threaten to overwhelm you in the process. That’s where we come in. With top-notch research on the right companies and the right solar brands, we’ve created your all-in-one resource for the solar lowdown.
Solar Energy Management
With 30 years’ worth of experience in construction technology and energy efficiency, and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, Solar Energy Management is a dependable name in the Tampa solar energy game. The solar panel brands they employ (Canadian Solar, Suniva and LG) are backed by 25-year warranties, best efficiencies and a performance bond. SEM also offers Solar Edge inverters and will install your entire system. With so much experience in the industry, they know what they’re talking about, and this has translated to extremely positive customer communications and crystal-clear explanations of what a solar energy system will look like.
12 years in the solar installation business (and many more in the home improvement arena at large) has given Sun-Tec Clearwater a wide span of knowledge on how to design an efficient solar system for your home. Sun-Tec Solar offers free consultations, custom design solar systems based on your needs and install the entire system for you – including managing all site plans, permits and inspections and working with your utility company.
Though their website claimed reputable status in solar installation Florida-wide, we found Sun-Tec’s communication and branding as a whole to be lacking. Not only did they fail to get back to us via phone and email in a timely manner, but it was hard to navigate the website for simple information, such as what kind of warranty they offered.
Solar Advantage gets major points for an aesthetically pleasing website (one that’s very easy to navigate), quick response time from their customer service team, and an impressive array of solar research that’s easy to absorb (solar pun intended). Their friendly customer communications further instilled a sense that their services are trustworthy and dependable. The only (minimal) complaint is that their phone number was not immediately available on the main site.
Their most commonly offered setup is a 10-kilowatt system that uses 36 solar panels, producing about $200 worth of electricity each month. Their all-inclusive service obtains the necessary permits, provides and installs solar panels, and connects all the necessary utility lines. And with a free estimate service, they make it easy to find out what’s right for you. The system you set up will determine what kind of warranty you get on your solar panels.
Finding the best solar panels in Tampa
Shopping for solar panels and a total system that will work for your home shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision. You want to choose quality panels with a dependable warranty. Go with the cheap kind, and they could very well break. Add a short warranty to that equation and you’re back at square one. Neither option sounds ideal, right? The best bet for maximizing power and panel longevity is to invest in a panel that lives up to the following standards:
Ask your installer about the panels that you’re purchasing, and whether they’re up these essential standards. While the numbers can seem daunting, it’s completely worth it to talk to each company and learn the implications of each system they offer. Here are Freshome’s top recommending brands — you should ask your installer about whether they offer panels from these companies as well.
Solar Power in Tampa
Tampa Solar Policies and Incentives
As a whole, the state of Florida’s offerings in terms of solar policies and incentives are less than enticing. Without any renewable portfolio standards, property tax exemptions or statewide solar rebate program, the political aspect to solar installation in Tampa has been largely affected by pushback from utility companies. Since Florida has no income tax, there are no solar tax credits to redeem. The only tangible incentive we found in our research was the 30% federal tax credit, known as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC implemented in 2006 to spur the development of solar energy in the United States, and research shows that this credit has contributed to a compound annual growth rate of 76 percent. So, with the ITC and the abundant availability of sunlight in Tampa, solar energy may still be worth the investment despite the lack of incentives as are available in other states.
What to Expect
Tampa receives 2281 harvestable kWh per year. The Average Residential Price per kW is 9.19 Cents. Does that make solar in Tampa a lucrative investment or bad idea? Here are some examples we whipped up to help you determine that for yourself.
Not sure how many panels could fit on your roof? The average solar panel is 3 feet by 5 feet, so divide your roof’s square footage by 15 and you will have a pretty good estimate.
How do solar panels work?
It all starts with photovoltaic cells: the cells on solar panels that turn rays into electric energy Often referred to as PV systems in the industry, what sounds like complicated tech-speak can actually be an incredibly simple boon to your energy savings.
So what happens once the sunlight hits? Called “direct current” or DC electricity, it flows to a power inverter, where it’s converted to “alternate current,” or AC electricity. The AC then moves to the breaker box, subsequently powering your lights and home appliances. Whatever leftover energy there is (if any) is either stored by a battery system (if you have one in place) or connected to your city’s utility grid, allowing you to both give and receive energy.
So while it’s a relatively simple concept, with professionals in the area to take the reins for you vis a vis system design and installation, it’s also an incredible source of clean energy that can power your home the way you’re used to, with far less cost and carbon footprint.
Should I go on or off the grid?
Net metering and battery storage are both ways to divert unused solar energy. Net metering takes the energy you don’t use and puts it back on a shared grid (giving you credit towards your overall energy bill), while battery systems store it. In plain terms, the argument for net metering rests on the fact that you, as a homeowner, don’t have to deal with the storage costs of a battery. The regulations associated with net metering and pushback from utility companies, who perceive net metering as a source of revenue loss, make it a slightly more complicated option than battery storage.
Battery storage has indeed improved over the years — in the past, arguments were made that batteries are too costly, are not reliable, and add complications. Technology gains have added myriad options for designing a system with battery storage. You can enable your battery bank on the web to notify you when the battery is full or when they need to be switched out. Some also find the concept of a local storage system to be more reliable than using a shared grid.
How long does the install take?
The actual installation process takes a few days, depending on the company. Contact one of the companies we’ve listed to get a better idea.
Does color matter?
Most companies offer panels in a range of options off the black to light-gray scale. The darker panels, as may seem self-explanatory, do the best job of absorbing maximum sunlight. Shinier colors can, in a counter-intuitive move, reflect away the sunlight that you need to power your home.
Do my actions make a difference?
Whatever company and system you decide to entrust with your newfound energy savings and reduced global footprint, get ready to see the following potential changes in your day-to-day activity and home use.
- Conserve water: more than 16,000 gallons of water annually
- Cut out the middleman: Reduce reliance on foreign and nonrenewable energy sources
- Raise your resale potential: solar systems can increase a home’s resale potential by an average of $5.50 per watt – and certain studies show that homes with solar sell 15% faster than those without.
- Put it in perspective: by installing a solar energy system in your house, you already know you’re reducing your carbon footprint, but how does your new energy usage compare? To the tune of 35,180 pounds less carbon dioxide per year. In order to save the same amount of carbon dioxide, you’d have to plant 88 trees every year.
- Cut the lights: The average 25-year electricity cost of solar is about 5 cents per kilowatt-hour – less than half the cost of your current utility usage.
And it’s all possible because of the sun.
By now you’re fully immersed in some serious solar energy research. So is it right for your home and location? Give our top-rated companies a call and get a quote. They’re ready to built out a price and system that reflects your energy goals.