Many people know solar can save you money in the long run. But did you know it’s a sustainable, renewable energy source that can start saving you money immediately as well? To find out if solar is right for your home in Texas, keep reading this article.
Over 1 million homes have gone solar in the Lone Star State. Texas continues to lead all other states in the number of new home solar installations. The most popular reason is that solar can reduce or even eliminate your annual electric bill.
At first, purchasing solar panels may seem like an unaffordable expense. However, certain solar providers in Texas are able to structure the repayment of your solar system that it is less than what you pay for your electric bill, all while eliminating your electric bill. That means, if you can afford your electric bill you can afford to go solar.
How do they make that happen?
Since your new solar installation is providing much of, or all of your electrical needs for your home, your electric bill will be much lower or even non-existent. Your solar provider is able to take that lower number as well as the cost of your new solar installation to figure out how much you need to pay each month to pay off your system, all while still saving money right away.
So for example, an average solar system in Texas may cost around $14,000 and your average electric bill in Texas before going solar is around $150 per month. Once you go solar your new electric bill will be $0 per month and you’ll pay lets say $120 per month for your solar system until its paid off. At that rate, it would take about 10 years to pay off the $14,000 system, but you’ll have saved money each month and once the system is paid off you would then save the full $150 per month.
Electricity costs are rising in Texas and so is the amount of electricity used due to bigger homes, hotter summers, and increase electricity demand. Altogether, solar can save you tens of thousands of dollars. In fact, in Texas, its estimated that once your system is paid off, the average home would save at least $2,000 per year and over $40,000 in 20 years, and these numbers are only increasing.
Also, an important consideration to going solar in Texas is that net metering is available in certain parts of the state or from certain utility companies. Net metering is a program offered by your utility company that allows solar providers to design your solar installation such that it will meet all of your electrical needs in your home across the year on average. This means, in certain months, your solar system will generate more electricity than your home uses. The utility company can store any extra amount of electricity generated as a credit. Then, on cloudy days or days where your system generates less electricity than what you need, net metering allows you to use your credits to make up for the difference. This means you don’t need to install batteries to smooth out the highs and lows throughout the year. Without net metering, you wouldn’t be able to store any extra power generated, and you would need to have a larger solar system so that it is always able to meet your needs. At the moment El Paso Electric, the City of Brenham, CPS Energy, and Green Mountain Energy offer net metering. If you live in these areas or use these utility companies, net metering can help you save money and decrease the amount of time it takes to pay off your solar system.
Its hard to say just how quickly any system will take to pay off, because each home has different characteristics. Texas is the 4th sunniest state and typical flat, with little shading. There is little overcast and about 233 sunny days per year. The average installation costs about somewhere between about $12,000-$16,000 and the average electricity consumption per month is about 940 kHw at about 13 cents. So, on average it takes about 11.5 years to pay off a solar system in Texas. Keep in mind thats an average between all homes, even those without net metering. If you have access to net metering it may take you less time to pay off the system.
Even if you do have access to net metering, it doesn’t mean your home will be off the grid or able to have power during black outs. This is because your solar installation feeds into the electric grid, rather than your house to ensure you are always able to meet your power needs and protect your home from surges. In order to have power during outages such as those caused by natural disasters, you’ll need an energy storage system as well. If you are interested in batteries, the average size battery system in Texas is about 10 kWh and the average cost per kWh to install such a system is about $1200 per kWh, for an additional cost to your solar system of about $12,000.
Going solar can be expensive, especially with a battery system. As a US resident, you may be able to get the solar federal tax credit, which will cover 30% of your home solar system cost including the battery cost to help bring down the cost to to go solar. If you want to learn more about the solar tax credit watch this video next.
Also, some states have additional incentives to help you save even more. Texas does not have a statewide solar tax credit, however here are some of the incentives you may be able to take advantage of to help save money in addition to the 30% solar federal tax credit.
In Texas, you need to choose your utility provider, so be sure you select a provider that will buy back the excess solar you generate, if such a program is offered. Not all utility companies will do so and if you don’t have net metering this can be an important factor on how much solar can save you.
Texas also has a renewable energy property tax exemption. Going solar has shown that it can increase your property value by about 4%. With this exemption, your taxes won’t also increase as a result of higher property value. Texas also has a solar rights law, which means an HOA cannot prevent you from going solar in most cases.
Texas also has a renewable energy property tax exemption. Going solar has
Also, Oncor serves about 100 counties in Texas, including major cities like Dallas. If you live in one of their service areas and install a solar system with a battery, you can qualify for a rebate as long as the solar system meets certain technical requirements. The rebate will change based on your system, but it could help you save up to $8500. This rebate will simply bring down the cost to go solar, rather than come to you as a rebate
If you live in Austin, you can get a rebate for $2500, in addition to the 30% federal tax credit. To earn the rebate, you must complete their brief solar course, use an approved contractor, install a system larger than 3 kW, and receive a letter of intent, in addition to having a property that is connected to an Austin Energy account.
The City of Sunset Valley offers residents $1 per W of solar installed, up to $3000. This can be combined with the Austin Energy rebate, if you qualify, as well as the 30% solar federal tax credit. In fact, you must first apply for the Austin Energ rebate and your system cannot cost more than $6 per W.
If you’re someone who wants to go solar because of the environmental benefit, solar power typical takes about 2-3 years to generate energy to account for its impact. The electric grid in Texas is a bit cleaner than the rest of the country. The Texas electric grid produces about 818 lbs of emissions per Mwh, so by switching to solar, the average home in Texas can reduce its carbon footprint by about 770 lbs per month or about 4.5 tons per year.
Some people hold off on going solar because they want to wait for better technology. While technology is always improving, it typically does not improve fast enough to make waiting the best option.
If you’re looking to start saving money and lowering your impact on the planet, solar could be the right option for you. Solar isn’t for everybody and in some cases solar may still be expensive, especially if you are in an area of Texas where you cannot take advantage of some of the incentives to go solar.
But if you are interested in going solar and want to get access to solar providers that are all licensed, insured and vetted with great reviews by their customers, check out EnergySage with the link in the description. You simply create a free account with EnergySage and they will connect you with solar proverbs in your area. A major advantage of using EnergySage is the solar providers on their platform cannot annoy you with unwanted calls, texts, emails, or even house visits. The entire experience of finding solar providers and comparing quotes can be done online. By comparing quotes among many trusted companies, you may even save money without sacrificing quality. You can also get connected to an energy advisor. So check out EnergySage if you’re interested.
If you want to learn more about the solar federal tax credit read this article next.