The average price of solar photovoltaic (electric) systems in Southwest Florida has continued to drop steadily for the last two years, and local prices are lower than national averages for both residential and non-residential systems. According the the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) U.S. Solar Market Insight Report for Q2, 2012, the average price of a residential solar electric system dropped to $5.46 per watt. Larger non-residential systems averaged $4.38 per watt.
The comparatively lower prices in our local market result partially from lower than average labor costs and stiff competition, but the numbers are skewed in a way because some leasing companies in other states can sell systems at inflated prices and offer low monthly payments. You can see from the above graphic that the range of prices is quite large, ranging from $4-$8 per watt. Typical prices for the most basic installations in Southwest Florida are near the bottom of that range, with more complicated roof types and wind zones and premium products resulting in higher retail prices.
The good news for Southwest Florida residents and businesses is that light demand in our state results in prices of solar energy systems below that in other states where dealers have long backlogs of installations. While prices are very low now, I don’t expect that Florida’s retail prices will continue to drop at the same rate seen in other states. With margins squeezed as much as they are, the rest of the nation is likely to “catch up” with our already-low prices.
Graph: Average Solar Electric Installed Prices Q2, 2012. Source: SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight Report