Is Mount Dora Florida’s Most Solar-Friendly City?


Known for its lake views, fine dining, charming shops, and small town ambiance, Mount Dora is also in the running for the most solar-friendly city in Florida.  Sound hard to believe?  Maybe. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Mount Dora’s quality public servants combine with friendly policy and a community that believes in the benefits of solar, and quickly makes its case for being an extremely solar-friendly, citizen-friendly, Florida-friendly city. Here’s how.

The average permitting time for solar energy projects varies greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but Mount Dora consistently turns their reviews around in 3-4 days.  While not a guarantee from the City, this pattern of performance has made residential and commercial solar experiences positive and served to reduce overall costs. This predictability allows local businesses like Optimus Solar to better predict workflow and supply chain needs.  Additionally, Mount Dora building officials have shown an appetite to learn and grow with the industry, making it fun and easy to work together to serve the needs of the community.

From a financial standpoint, the City of Mount Dora participates in a ‘traditional’ net-metering program, where power produced by the solar energy system is credited to the owner at the retail power rate.  However, going a step beyond this, any excess power produced is also automatically credited to the owner’s overall municipal utility bill (including water, etc,. because Mount Dora owns and runs its own electric utility).  This provides a consistent 12-month return to the system owner, helping to reduce their expenses.

These policies have recently proven extremely effective in incentivizing locals to go solar. For example, Optimus Solar operates a net-zero warehouse and office in the City, and has an effective utility bill of $10 per month across all services.  Additionally, due to its generous policy, a large commercial owner in the City has implemented a system with 108 solar panels, investing in the community, keeping money local, and providing a wonderful marketing story for the building’s tenants.

Mount Dora has built a rich history as a close-knit, caring community. This legacy is evident through the community’s current favorable approach to solar energy adoption, which will ensure that Mount Dora remains renown for its positive impact on residents, businesses and the state through its environmental policies.  The City has the further potential to save $2,000 per year per government vehicle by switching to EV’s. Once that transition inevitably occurs, residents will see an improvement in air quality, noise reduction, and further financial benefits in this pedestrian-based historic downtown corridor. Evidence would indicate that Mount Dora, self-proclaimed “Someplace Special” is indeed that, especially when it comes to solar.


Top 5 Reasons to Go Solar in 2019


The year may have just barely begun, but that’s no reason to put off the things that could make 2019 a stellar year. We put together our list of “Top 5 Reasons to Go Solar in 2019” because today is always the best day to plan for your future.

1.    2019 is the last year for the full 30% federal income tax credit

Starting in 2020, the tax credit will reduce to 26%.  In 2021, it is down to 22%. From there, it will continue to decrease until it is fully phased out. It is reasonable to expect that solar installation prices will not fall as quickly as the tax credit, so 2019 may be a homeowner’s best chance to optimize their financial return on solar.

2.    Utility rates continued to rise from 2018 to 2019

The US national average for electricity rose from January 2018 to late 2018. This means that in 2019, the return on a solar investment is more attractive, the payback period is shorter, and if you install this year, you can offset more future costs.

3.    The price of a solar installation in Florida fell in 2018

According to Solar Power World Online, the average price of a residential solar installation in the US fell in 2018 by almost 6%.  That can amount to meaningful savings for a household seeking to invest in solar in 2019!

4.    Having a solar PV system contributes to household financial stability 

For households that pay cash for a system, there is an immediate reduction in their monthly expenses through a reduction in energy bills.  For households that choose to finance their system, they are trading a volatile monthly payment for a fixed monthly payment over the life of the loan. Of course, once the loan is paid off, the real savings begin rolling in!

5.    Investing in Florida helps the local economy and long-term health of the State

Optimus Solar has written about the compounding power of producing electricity locally vs. importing it from out of State.  Furthermore, using Florida-based solar installers, and Florida-manufactured solar panels compounds the local positive impacts and leads to a multiplier of positive economic activity.

There you have it! This Top 5 list is pretty convincing, but if you need more info or want to chat about what a solar PV system could do for your home this year, give us a call! 352-535-0227