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Ready to get started with solar energy that fits your needs? Learn the pertinent details you’ll want to consider in order to begin your journey with knowledge and confidence.

Go Solar

Shopping for solar can feel confusing and overwhelming. Here are five steps to go solar with confidence:

Step 1: Decide if solar works for you

Rooftop solar panel systems have plenty of benefits, but not every property is suitable for solar. The following describes the ideal candidate for solar:

  • You own your property
  • You roof or property has enough space and sunlight
  • You’re eligible for tax incentives
  • Your installation will give you a favorable return on investment

Use this solar panel calculator to quickly estimate your solar potential.

Step 2: Receive and compare quotes from local installers

Once you’re confident that going solar is worth considering, it’s time to connect with local installers to find a solar panel system installation that fits your needs and budget. The EnergySage Marketplace is a free online service that helps you gather and compare solar quotes directly from vetted installers in your area with the support of a vendor-neutral expert advisor.

Step 3: Choose an installer

After comparing prices, the quality of solar equipment, financing options, and the reputation of your potential installers, you should pick the installer that you have the most confidence in to perform an efficient and cost-effective installation with long-lasting equipment.

Step 4: Pay for your solar installation

Solar panel systems can typically save West Central Florida area homeowners about $35,000-$45,000 over 25 years, but the upfront costs are still considerable. Most people pay for their solar installations with a loan, lease, or with cash upfront. Learn more about how to pay for solar.

Step 5: Install your system

After your installer inspects and approves your space for solar, the installer must submit a solar interconnection application (and a battery interconnection application – if applicable), to Tampa Electric. Upon receiving receipt of the application, Tampa Electric will perform an inspection of the system, including the disconnect switch. Please be aware that this can take up to 30 calendar days. Once inspections are complete, you're ready to generate power with your new solar system.

Learn more about how to go solar.

The total price you pay for a solar panel system depends on the system size, the solar panel brand, and the features of your roof or land. On average, solar panels in West Central Florida cost $2.62 per watt (W) resulting in an average price of $35,277 for a typical 13.8 kW solar panel system.

Federal, state, and local incentives can cut these costs by thousands of dollars. For example, the federal solar tax credit alone can lower the cost of solar by 30 percent. Solar owners in the West Central Florida area who pay for their system up front will typically recover their solar investment in about 8.5 years. For those who finance their systems, the timing of the savings will depend on the terms of your loan. Between our state’s climate and available incentives, solar panels typically save West Central Florida area residents about $35,000-$45,000 over 25 years.

There are three main methods to pay for solar installations: with cash upfront or via a solar loan or a lease. Paying with cash generates the most savings over time but requires a significant upfront investment. Solar loans allow you to pay for your installation in monthly installments while maintaining ownership of your system. Leasing your solar panels is an affordable way to go solar but may disqualify you from financial incentives and limit your potential savings. 

Learn more about the cost of solar in Florida.

To get the most out of your system, you’ll need to choose the right equipment. The type of panel, power output, efficiency, temperature coefficient, lifespan, and warranty all contribute to a solar panel’s ability to meet your unique energy needs.

Power output & efficiency

A solar panel’s power output refers to the amount of electricity it generates, and its efficiency measures how well it converts sunlight into electricity and is measured as a percentage. For example, most solar panels convert between 17 percent and 20 percent of the sunlight exposed to their cells into electricity. However, high-efficiency solar panels can exceed 22 percent efficiency. If you have limited space for your solar panel system, choosing a more efficient solar panel may be worth the investment as fewer panels are needed to meet your demands.

Temperature coefficient

A solar panel’s wattage and output are measured under ideal conditions, meaning you should expect less when the weather takes a turn. Your panels’ temperature coefficient indicates how much the performance of your solar panel may change under less-than-ideal conditions. For example, a temperature coefficient of 0.5 means that for every 10C above 250C, the solar panels decrease in efficiency by 0.5 percent. This means that solar panels with a low temperature coefficient (typically around 0.3) tend to perform better in hotter climates. Due to Florida’s consistently high temperatures, choosing a solar panel with a low temperature coefficient is beneficial to maximize your system's electricity production.

Lifespan & warranty

A home solar panel system is a substantial investment that should last you decades, so it’s important to choose a solar panel brand with reliable product and performance warranties to confidently protect your purchase. Product warranties usually cover manufacturing defects like premature wear and tear, whereas performance warranties guarantee that your panels will maintain a certain amount of output throughout their lifetime. To get the most out of your solar investment, we recommend reviewing EnergySage’s article on solar panel warranties.

Learn more about how to choose solar panels.

How Many Solar Panels On Roof

On average, Floridians need 27 to 34 solar panels to cover most of their electricity usage. In addition to your budget and goals, the number of solar panels you’ll need depends on your annual electricity consumption, the wattage of your solar panels, and the estimated production ratio of your solar panel system.

Annual electricity usage

On average in 2022, Tampa Electric customers with single-family homes used 16,752 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually. When you’re determining how many solar panels to install, consider both your current and future energy needs. Especially during Florida’s long, hot summers, things like swimming pools, AC systems, and other appliances can significantly increase the energy usage of your solar panel system.

Solar panel wattage

Most residential solar panels have ratings of 250 to 400 watts. The most efficient solar panels on the market are 370- to 400-watt models. The higher the wattage rating, the higher the output. If you have limited space, you many want to consider higher wattage panels so you can produce the amount of energy needed with fewer panels.

Learn more about how many solar panels you’ll need.

How long do solar panels last?

The lifespan of a solar panel is measured by its usefulness rather than its ability to turn on. Solar panels typically have a useful life of about 25-30 years. The power output of a solar panel is highest at the beginning of its life and slowly degrades over time. Eventually, energy production falls by what manufacturers consider a significant amount, and the solar panel’s lifetime is deemed complete. 

The rate at which a solar panel’s output declines is called the solar panel degradation rate. For example, a solar panel with a 0.5 percent degradation rate will still operate at 87.5 percent of its original output after 25 years. Thanks to improvements in solar panel technology, a solar degradation rate below 1 percent is now the industry standard and most solar manufacturers guarantee a certain amount of output each year through performance warranties

Performance and product warranties

Solar panels come with multiple warranties that can provide peace of mind when investing in a solar system. 

Product warranties are offered by manufacturers and protect against manufacturing defects. Importantly, damage or defects caused by factors outside of the manufacturer’s control, like natural disasters, aren’t usually covered under product warranties. 

Performance warranties, also known as power warranties, can help you understand how long your solar panels may last. Performance warranties typically last 25 years and guarantee that your panels will produce a certain percentage of their original output each year. 

Learn more about solar panel lifespans.

Visit Incentives to get the latest on financial perks.

Paths to solar

Solar Calculator

The EnergySage calculator can estimate your solar potential and savings by address. Estimates are based on your roof, electricity bill and actual offers in your area.


Find an installer

When you shop through the EnergySage Marketplace, you’ll receive custom quotes from vetted, reputable installers so you can make an informed decision. Email required.


Sun Select

If rooftop solar isn’t a viable option for you, consider Tampa Electric’s Sun Select community solar program that lets you power your home with locally generated solar power.


EnergySage is a third-party online resource that helps educate consumers about renewable energy solutions. It offers online offers for rooftop solar and/or battery installations from EnergySage-qualified solar installers and financing companies.