What You Should Know About “Going Solar” in Florida
It’s true that adding Solar panels to more homes and businesses is a great way to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. Another benefit is that it is a great long-term investment to reduce the future energy bills of homeowners and business owners. With those key benefits in mind, it is important to also know the risks and the overall costs before you decide if going solar is best for you.
Although residential solar energy installations are typically covered as part of a standard homeowners policy, according the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), your insurance company might require an add-on or separate policy for certain types of solar panel systems. While rooftop solar is typically covered in a standard policy, your insurer may or may not cover other types of installations, such as solar panel carports and ground mounted solar panels.
Your Utility Company may have its own insurance and system requirements. For example, Duke Energy in Florida has special requirements for Tier 2 (> 10kw and <=100kw) systems: Application fee of $240, proof of general liability insurance of $1 million, the installation of an externally accessible, lockable a/c disconnect switch located in close proximity to the meter location. Click here for more information.
Please, contact your Erb and Young Insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage when you decide to “Go Solar.”
Before we go into more of the benefits, here are three risk factors to consider before you go solar:
1. Can your roof handle the weight of the solar panels? Each roof is designed to accommodate a predetermined load or weight; if the roof can not support the solar panel array, it could lead to structural degradation or the collapse of your roof over time. Most Solar Panels and the mounting equipment weigh 2-4 lbs per square foot, which is usually within the acceptable limits of your roof. Yet, it would be it your best interest to have a professional engineer evaluate the structural integrity and load on the roof to ensure it can handle the weight of the solar panel array.
2. In Florida, heavy winds and especially hurricane force winds can cause damage to the space below the panels thus causing pressurization that can damage your roof.
3. You have an increased possibility of a fire when Electrical components become worn or deteriorated because they are exposed to the elements. That is why it is vital that you plan to have your system inspected on a regular basis.
Now, that you are aware of the major risks, let’s discuss the rewards of installing a Solar Energy (PV) System.