I went to Tesla's solar calculator, plugged in my address, and like magic it calculated the cost and potential savings as well as future potential income.
I had to make a few adjustments as Peace River Electric Coop in Florida has considerably higher rates than the other major provider in the area, Florida Power (FPL). Up to 50% higher in fact.
Plugging in the numbers, though, that higher cost was calculated into a lot more potential future income by selling spare electricity back to PERCO. My roof went from earning $8k over 30 years to earning $36,500 from the utility. That was exciting for sure.
|Tesla's Solar Calculator for my house|
But then I went to Peace River's Net Metering public report to see how much current solar homes were earning from them. What I found surprised me.
In 2015 there were 74 solar customers total for the whole utility. And PERCO paid a total of just $3,136 split among all of them. That's just $42 average each for the whole year.
But Tesla is estimating I'd earn $1200 a year just myself with their system. Is Peace River being cheap? Or do these other people have really bad solar systems?
Each customer on PERCO's report is individually listed by name and subdivision (2014) and many of those had 10KW and even 28KW systems, installed within the last couple years. It showed that they paid out twice as much to the utility as they received back on average. (Great that their power bill payments are public record, eh?) What about other utilities?
So I went to the Florida Public Service Commissions Summary report for 2015 to check out all providers. Here is what I found:
For the entire sunshine state of Florida there were 11,600 Net Meter customers, i.e., those who have an agreement to sell extra electricity back to their electric company.
But the total dollars paid by all Florida electric companies to all net meter customers was just $419,551.
Split between 11,600 customers that just $36.16 a year each income!
Maybe your state is different. But for Floridians, where the sun shines brightly, please don't count on significant income from generating power. If a 28KW system in a standard home (yes, I looked it up) is not generating $3000 a year just by itself then beware Tesla's figures. Or maybe that's a "grow house" and they actually use that much power.