Thank you for your interest in Orlando Utilities Commission’s Solar Programs. OUC has two solar programs: A Solar Photovoltaic (PV) program and a Solar Thermal program. A Solar Photovoltaic (PV) system generates electricity, and a Solar Thermal system generates heat for domestic water heating systems.
OUC provides all residential customers who install a solar photovoltaic system with the benefit of net metering. The term net metering means that you receive a credit at your current retail electric rate for any excess energy your system produces and feeds back to the utility. OUC also offers its residential customers a $0.05/KWH production incentive on all of the energy that your solar photovoltaic system produces (whether you use it on site or send it back to the utility grid). In order to provide these credits, OUC installs an additional electric meter on your home that records all of the energy production from your solar system. Residential customers also can take advantage of low interest loans through the Orlando Federal Credit Union.
OUC offers residential electric customers a Point of Sale rebate of $1,000 that your contractor will provide at the time you purchase your solar hot water system. Pool heating systems are not included in the program. Through a partnership with the Orlando Federal Credit Union (OFCU), OUC also offers an option to finance your solar hot water system for as low as 0 percent over 36 months. Customers who choose to finance through this special program receive a Point of Sale rebate of $550 in addition to OUC’s interest rate buydown on the loan. All participants must use an OUC Preferred Contractor.
The customer installs a Solar PV system on his or her home using a certified solar contractor, signs an agreement allowing OUC to retain the rights to the environmental benefits or attributes. In exchange, OUC will provide a monthly production credit on the utility bill for the energy the systems produce. Additionally, for PV systems, any excess electricity that is generated and not used by the customer is sent back to OUC’s electric grid for which the customer will be credited at the full applicable standard retail rate this is also know as net metering.
The customer installs a Solar Thermal system on his or her home using an OUC Preferred Solar Contractor. The OUC Preferred Solar Contractor provides the customer with the OUC Solar Thermal rebate at the point-of-sale, and submits an application to OUC for reimbursement.
For reference, an average 2 kilowatt solar PV system and a typical residential solar thermal 40 square foot collector system will each produce about 2,700 kWh a year.
OUC verification of all Solar PV and Thermal systems is required for participation in OUC’s solar programs.
OUC has also partnered with Orlando Federal Credit Union to provide low interest loan options for solar installations to help keep the net monthly cost low for our residential customers. Additionally, there are federal tax credits available to help minimize the cost.
For more information, view our Solar Guide.
To become a Solar Preferred Contractor, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or to learn more visit the Preferred Contractor Network (PCN).
OUC Renewables Department
PO Box 3193
Orlando, FL 32802
Photovoltaic’s (PV) are arrays of solar cells that convert light into electricity. Producing electricity with PV emits no pollution, produces no greenhouse gases and uses no finite fossil-fuel resources. Electricity produced from a PV system is measured in watts, while the amount of electricity produced over time by a PV system is measured in kilowatt hours. Solar photovoltaic technologies have declined in price since they were first introduced onto the market, driven by improved research and development, and most of all by steady increases in sales volume. Most home owners start small, since PV can be added in modular increments as your energy needs and investment capabilities grow. It is important to focus on reducing your overall energy use through energy efficiency and solar water heating prior to sizing a solar PV system. PV arrays can be mounted at a fixed angle facing south in an un-shaded region of the roof or on a tracking device that follows the sun, allowing them to capture the most sunlight over the course of a day. Integrated PV cells are now available in a variety of shapes and sizes including triangular shaped panels as well as small roofing tiles.
A one-kilowatt PV system will produce about 1,350 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year and has an expected lifetime of 30 years, for a total production of 40,500 kWh. To calculate a simple payback on your PV system, divide the total installed cost of your system by the monetary value of the energy produced from your system each year. Maintenance should also be considered and generally averages about one percent of the total system cost. For a typical Florida home that consumes about 2,000 kWh a month, a 4.0 kilowatt PV system should offset about 22 percent of the energy .
Today’s solar heaters, or solar thermal systems, provide environmentally friendly heat for water and swimming pools in residential applications. The solar systems collect the sun’s energy to heat air or a fluid. Two commonly used systems include active and passive systems. Active solar water heaters use pumps to circulate water or another fluid from the storage tanks through the collectors. Passive solar water heaters require no pumps or controls and combine the storage tank and collector in one unit. The use of a solar water heater will benefit you by lowering your electric bills and insulating you from rising energy costs. When installed properly, solar water heaters are more economical over the life of the system than heating water with electricity, dedicated heat pumps, heat recovery units, natural gas or propane. Many systems include sleek, attractive, low-relief collectors that people often mistake for skylights. Properly designed and installed systems with glass covered collectors should perform well for more than 20 years.
Solar water heaters, sometimes called solar domestic hot-water systems, can be a good investment for your home. The average system takes up just 40 square feet of roof space and should save between 50 percent and 85 percent of the hot water portion of the monthly bill. Most residential solar thermal systems cost between $4,000 and $5,000. An average 40-square-foot collector should be able to offset 10 percent to 15 percent of the energy for homes that consume about 2,000 kilowatt hours a month.
Rule of thumb: 1 kW system in Orlando is expected to produce an average of 1350 kWh a year. (Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory – PVWatts)
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Calculating savings for solar thermal:
A 40 SQFT solar thermal collector equivalents to roughly 2 kW.
I want to install a 40 SQFT solar thermal collector, how much will I save?
40 SQFT collector equivalents kW: 2
1 kW System Production kWh/yr:1,350
Calculating savings for solar photovoltaic:
An average residential solar system is about 4-5 kW.
I want to install a 4 kW photovoltaic solar system, how much will I save?
Solar system size kW: 4
1 kW System Production kWh/yr: 1,350
If I use about a 1,500 kWh a month, what size solar system should I get to offset my usage?
1 kW System Production kWh/yr: 1350
kWh Monthly Electric Consumption: 1500
If I already installed a solar system on my home/business, can I still participate in OUC's Solar Programs?
Yes, for PV and commercial thermal programs. A solar contractor would need to be hired by you to install the required metering equipment. Depending on how old the system is, the contractor would need to bring the system up to code so that it can pass OUC's inspection. No, for residential thermal systems.Visit the Residential How to Apply or Commercial How to Apply section to learn more about the requirements.
How much do solar systems cost?
Solar Thermal – an average 40 SQFT open loop collector with an 80 gallon tank can cost $4,000 - $5,000. Solar photovoltaic – around $7 - $9 / watt. For example, a 4 kW system can cost $28,000 - $36,000.
Cost can vary on market prices. Please contact a certified solar contractor to get specific pricing costs.
Why does OUC verify/inspect the solar system? OUC and the experts from the Florida Solar Energy Center inspect the systems to ensure they will function to their maximum potential. Additionally, OUC needs to verify that all solar photovoltaic systems interconnected to our grid are installed safely and will not jeopardize the safety of our crew working in the area.
In addition to OUC's solar incentives, what other rebates are available for solar systems? Rebates and incentives vary by where you live. Please visit the DSIRE website to see what incentives are available in your area: http://www.dsireusa.org What paperwork does OUC need in order for me participate in the solar program? Please visit the Residential How to Apply or Commercial How to Apply sections of our website to see the list of requirements.
If I am an OUC water only customer, can I still participate in OUC's Solar Programs? For photovoltaic systems: Yes, you can still take advantage of the monthly production credits. For thermal systems: No, participation in OUC’s solar thermal program requires customer’s electric service be provided by OUC.
Does OUC install the solar system? No, OUC does not offer a program where we install solar systems for the customer. We do, however, have a list of solar contractors through our Preferred Contractor Network.
What kind of permits are required?
What will my OUC bill look like once I am on OUC's Solar Program? Click here to see a bill sample and explanation.
Is OUC’s Solar Thermal Program an incentive or a rebate? OUC’s Residential Solar Thermal Program offers a point-of-sale rebate through an OUC Preferred Solar Contractor only. A point-of-sale rebate is a rebate only an OUC Preferred Solar Contractor can provide to you at the time of purchase. The OUC point-of-sale thermal rebate is $1,000. For customers who choose to finance the solar system through the low interest loan option receive a point-of-sale rebate of $550 in addition to the OUC’s interest rate buy down on the loan.
OUC’s Commercial Solar Thermal Program offers a production incentive of $0.03/kWh produced which is applied monthly to the customer’s OUC bill. Production is recorded through a BTU meter that your contractor will install with your solar thermal system.
What is a point-of-sale rebate? The OUC Solar Thermal point-of-sale rebate is a rebate only an OUC Preferred Solar Contractor can provide to you at the time of purchase. The OUC point-of-sale thermal rebate is $1,000. For customers who choose to finance the solar system through the low interest loan option receive a point-of-sale rebate of $550 in addition to the OUC’s interest rate buy down on the loan.
Can I use any solar thermal contractor I choose and still participate in OUC’s Solar Thermal Rebate Program?
Residential: No. OUC’s Residential Solar Thermal Program participation requires all residential solar thermal systems be installed by an OUC Preferred Solar Contractor.
Commercial: Yes, you can use any certified solar installer you choose.
Why is it required to have OUC verify a solar thermal system?
Residential: Because OUC allows the OUC Solar Preferred Contractor to provide you with the solar thermal rebate at the point-of-sale, OUC needs to inspect the solar thermal system to verify the system is working and ensure the solar system installed matches the equipment listed on the contractors reimbursement application.
Commercial: OUC and the experts from the Florida Solar Energy Center inspect the systems to ensure they will function to their maximum potential.
Why is it required to involve OUC when installing a photovoltaic system? OUC needs to be aware a solar photovoltaic system will be interconnected for the safety of our crew working in the area and manage the impact of solar projects on our grid. Additionally, OUC will verify that the metering equipment is capable of supporting a photovoltaic system.
What type of meter does a photovoltaic solar system need? Two electric meters are required. The existing electric meter will be replaced with a bi-directional meter for net metering and a second electric meter will be added to record the monthly production credit data. The second electric meter requires that a steel meter base be installed by your contactor at the time of the solar system installation. Upon passing the OUC inspection of the solar system, we will place the second electric meter in that base. To learn more, visit the How to Apply section and the Solar Installer Information section.
What is a production credit? Production credit is a monthly incentive on the OUC bill based on the energy the solar system generates. Customer receives a credit based on the kWh recorded, for photovoltaic it is $0.05/kWh.
What are the meter requirements to participate in OUC's Solar Program? OUC requires an electric meter base be installed with a solar photovoltaic system. To learn more, visit the section for Solar Installer Information.
Can anybody qualify for the low interest loan with the OFCU?
Only residential customers can apply for the low interest loan with the OFCU. Commercial customers cannot apply at this time. OFCU has additional requirements to qualify, please visit here to learn more.
What if I want to pay off my OFCU loan early?
You are at liberty of paying the loan early. Please pay the balance directly to the OFCU then notify OUC's Renewables Department immediately.
Can I pay more than the allotted monthly amount?
Yes, notify the OFCU if you choose to pay more than the allotted monthly amount. back to top