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Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know about SanCap Solar Connect

About SanCap Solar Connect

About Financing

About Solar Energy


About SanCap Solar Connect

How does it work?

SanCap Solar Connect was inspired by solar campaigns that have succeeded across the country. By combining our collective purchasing power, SanCap Solar Connect ensures that program participants will be eligible for a special reduced rate on solar electricity systems in addition to a federal tax credit. Our installation partner, Urban Solar, was selected after the SanCap Solar Connect Selection Committee thoroughly evaluated proposals from many qualified installers. Urban Solar was chosen because it was clear they were able to offer the best value, experience, and technical knowledge to the community.

SanCap Solar Connect is coordinating a series of events on Sanibel and Captiva to educate community members about the program. Participants can sign up for a free solar assessment at their home or business from Urban Solar, SanCap Solar Connect’s selected installer partner. Urban Solar will remotely evaluate the property and will speak with property owners about their property's solar photovoltaic (PV) panel potential. If solar is a good option, an Urban Solar consultant will visit the site and take accurate measurements. Urban Solar will then present a system design and financial proposal to the property owner.

The SanCap Solar Connect program is a limited-time, special offer only available until March 15, 2016.

How can SanCap Solar Connect offer a below-market price?

In addition to benefitting from volume pricing and consolidated installation costs, Urban Solar will receive customer leads through SanCap Solar Connect's outreach efforts. As a result, Urban Solar's marketing costs will be reduced. Through this program, these savings will be passed on to customers. The more people that decide to go solar as part of the SanCap Solar Connect program, the larger these savings will be.

By going solar together, SanCap Solar Connect participants can secure a special price for solar that will be lower than going solar alone.

How was the installer selected?

The SanCap Solar Connect Selection Committee, consisting of solar experts and local community and business leaders, solicited bids from qualified installers interested in being a part of this exciting program. The Committee closely evaluated the experience and proposals of the companies that responded. After carefully interviewing the finalists, the SanCap Solar Connect Selection Committee chose Urban Solar, a Florida company with experience that includes other community-based solar programs.

This is the same selection process that many communities across the nation have used in their solar campaigns to find the installers that were right for them.

Why should I participate now?

SanCap Solar Connect offers participants the best price for solar in the state of Florida, with base prices approximately 26% below the state average reported in 2014.

Also, solar installations are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit, making solar more affordable for many families and businesses. SanCap Solar Connect participants are able to take advantage of all available incentives as well as a special discounted price, and they are able to work with an installer that has been specially vetted and selected by SanCap Solar Connect.

How can I learn more about the program?

Attend one of our Solar Community Meetings! SanCap Solar Connect and Urban Solar will host events on Sanibel and Captiva this fall and winter to discuss the value of solar electricity to our community and to share more information about the program.

Find an event near you!

Can I put in a ground-mounted system?

Yes! Sometimes the best location for solar might not be on your roof. Although ground-mounted systems typically cost more compared to rooftop systems, they can still be great investments, particularly if they are able to get more sun than your roof does. Urban Solar will work with property owners interested in ground-mounted systems to design one that meets their needs.

Is there a minimum system size to participate? The minimum system size is three kilowatts (3 kW), which is equal to approximately 12 solar panels.
Are new construction projects eligible?

Solar projects incorporated into newly-built homes or planned buildings are eligible to participate, but contracts must be signed by the program deadline of March 15, 2016. Urban Solar will work with individuals interested in installing systems on buildings currently designed or under construction.

How long will it take for me to get my solar panels installed?

After the initial assessment takes place and a contract has been signed, a typical timeline for installation is as follows:

  • 15 days for engineering
  • 30 days for permitting
  • 5 days for construction
  • 1-3 days for testing and commissioning

Please note that this represents an average timeline. Your installation timeline may vary depending on size and other variables. Our installation partner, Urban Solar, will be happy to discuss a specific timeline with you.

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About Financing

How much could I potentially save from solar? The cost of your solar investment will vary greatly depending on the size of the system, your roof type, and several other variables. To find out exactly how much you can save, please sign up for a free solar assessment for your home or business from Urban Solar.
Are there any incentives available for solar?

Yes, several incentives from the state and federal governments are available to SanCap Solar Connect Participants.

  • Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit. The federal government allows home and business owners to claim a credit of 30% of the total installed costs of their solar PV system. This tax credit was scheduled to expire at the end of 2016 but was extended until 2019 and on by Congress at the end of 2015. All participants are encouraged to consult their tax advisor to fully understand their personal tax benefit.
  • Sales Tax Exemption. Solar energy systems have been exempt from the Florida sales tax since 1997.

Solar PV systems installed by businesses are also eligible for special commercial incentives:

  • Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS). Solar energy systems are eligible for a 5-year depreciation schedule under the Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System.
  • Florida Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit. A corporate tax credit can be claimed by businesses that sell self-generated renewable energy to another party. Any excess electricity that is sold back to the grid may trigger this credit, equal to $0.01 per kWh of electricity sold. All participants are encouraged to consult their tax advisor to fully understand this production tax credit. This credit expires at the end of June 2016.

How do I get credit for the electricity I produce? The Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) Net Metering program allows LCEC members to offset all or part of their electricity use by "selling" their excess electricity back to LCEC. Net Metering is explained in detail at and will be discussed at the SanCap Solar Community Meetings.
Will installing solar PV panels affect my insurance rates? Solar panels do not affect property insurance rates or insurability. The system may be included on your homeowner's policy. All participants are encouraged to consult with their insurance agent.
Will installing solar cause my property taxes to go up? No! For homeowners, Florida provides a property tax exemption for the added value of a solar PV system. Installing solar will not increase your annual property taxes.

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About Solar

Are solar panels safe?

Solar panels are completely safe in standard operation. You should refrain from touching any exposed wires (if there happen to be any) or tampering with any of the equipment. All of the installations will be inspected and tested by local municipal inspectors for safety and compliance.

What makes my home or business an optimal site for solar?

A few factors determine whether a home or business is a good location for solar:

When you sign up at SanCap Solar Connect, Urban Solar will help you determine whether your home is a good candidate for solar.

  • Buildings with south-facing roofs make the best sites, as they have more access to sunlight, though roofs facing east or west can be used as well.
  • The location for solar should be largely un-shaded by trees or rooftop obstructions such as chimneys.
  • The roof should be in good condition and not in need of replacement in the near future.
How big of a system do I need?

An optimally-sited solar system in Florida will produce roughly 1,500 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year per kilowatt of solar installed. An average Florida household consumes over 14,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Therefore, a 10 kilowatt solar system (about 38 solar panels at 260 watts each) would satisfy all of a typical home’s energy needs, though some home rooftops will not be able to accommodate systems that large. Larger homes can accommodate larger systems, but the rules that govern the interconnection (the ability to send self-generated electricity to the grid) of solar systems to the electric grid in Florida are a bit more complicated for systems larger than 10 kilowatts. Homeowners may also choose to build a solar system that provides only a portion of a home's electricity supply. Urban Solar will work with property owners to develop a customer system that best addresses the electrical needs of their property

Systems installed through solar campaigns around the country have averaged approximately 7 kilowatts in size. The optimal system size at a particular home or building will vary based on electricity consumption and available space, noting that installed costs will typically be cheaper on a per panel (per Watt) basis for larger systems. Urban Solar will help you determine the system that is best for your property and needs.

If I already have solar panels to heat my pool, will they integrate with a full solar installation? Solar pool heating is a completely separate system. Pool heating systems cycle pool water through panels that use sunlight to directly heat the water. The purpose of the solar PV (or photovoltaic) systems installed through SanCap Solar Connect is to convert sunlight into electricity that can be used directly by your home's electrical system.
Is there enough sunlight with the amount of rain and cloud cover we get in Florida? Yes! Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a good reason. Despite the fact that it is cloudy and rainy for half of the days in the summer, Florida receives nearly 80% more sunlight than Germany, the global leader in solar installations. Florida also receives 20% more sunlight than Massachusetts, the state that ranked fourth in the country in new solar installations in 2014, and only slightly less sun than the southern parts of California, which is the leading state in the country in solar installations.
Will my solar panels stand up to severe storms and hurricanes? Solar panels are very resilient and hardy. They are built to handle golf-ball sized hail and hurricane force wind loads. All solar equipment installed in Florida must be certified by the Florida State Energy Center, a state research center at the University of Central Florida that tests and certifies solar equipment on a series of safety criteria including the inclement weather common to Florida.
How much maintenance is needed for solar panels? Solar panels need very little or no regular maintenance. Florida’s regular rainfall will clear off dust and debris. The solar panels used in this program have a 25-year performance warranty (and a 5-year workmanship warranty), and can often last for years longer. The inverter—the component of the system that converts the power generated by panels into usable electricity—will have a 10 to 25 year warranty depending upon the type of inverter chosen.

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Any questions we missed? Please contact the "Ding" Darling Wildlife Society at 239-472-1100 x233.