SolarReviews | Texas Solar Power Rebates and Incentives

Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits and Solar Panel Incentives in Texas; 2012 Update

In Texas there are a mix of local government incentives and utility up front rebates to assist with the installation of solar panels. However, it is a bit hit and miss because many of these programs are quite small and have limited annual budgets. So the upfront rebate you get will depend on what city or county you live in and who is your energy utility. Texas really is a state where it is probably best to speak with a few installers to get the latest information about rebates and incentives that may be available to you. Click "here" to get in touch with 3 local installers. Here is an example of a few of the programs offering upfront assistance for the purchase of solar panels. -Austin Energy Commercial Utility Austin Energy, a municipal utility, offers a production incentive to its commercial and multi-family residential customers for electricity generated by qualifying photovoltaic (PV) systems of up to 20 kilowatts (kW) AC. Eligibility is limited to Austin Energy customers with a commercial account number. The incentive rate is currently set at $0.14 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The program is offered to eligible applicants on a first-come, first-served basis subject to funding limitations. Participants begin by selecting an eligible installer, who will submit a program application on their behalf. If the application is approved, Austin Energy will issue a Letter of Intent (LOI) encumbering program funding for a period of 120 days for existing buildings and 180 days for new construction. After the PV system is installed it will be inspected by program personnel to verify compliance with program guidelines. Participants receive their incentive in the form of a quarterly payment from the utility. City of Sunset Valley - PV rebate program The City of Sunset Valley offers rebates to local homeowners who install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their properties. The local rebate acts as an add-on to the PV rebates that are offered by Austin Energy to its electric customers. The Sunset Valley rebate $1.00 a watt(W) rebate for every watt up to 3,000 W. In order to qualify for the Sunset Valley rebate, the system must first qualify for an Austin Energy rebate. In addition, the system installation cost must be $6/kW or less.

Austin Energy- Solar Panels Rebate program

Austin Energy's Solar Rebate Program offers a $2.50 per watt incentive to eligible residential who install photovoltaic (PV) systems on their homes. Rebates are limited to $15,000 per home installation and lifetime maximum of $50,000 per site, recognizing that some residential customers build out a home solar system in stages. Rebates will only be paid for approved systems installed by approved solar contractors according to the established technical requirements. All systems must conform to the utility's equipment and installation standards in order to qualify for a rebate. These standards include the use of pre-approved equipment; equipment warranty requirements; and the use of a program approved, ABCEP certified and appropriately insured solar installer.

FY2011 budget is $4 million. The FY2012 residential budget is $2.7 M. The program is reassessed on an annual basis each fiscal year in October, but does not have a specified final expiration date. Note NABCEP mean: North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Here is a list of other Texas utilities who have solar pv rebate programs:

Net Metering

Whilst it is positive that Texas allows net metering system the exact details vary from utility to utility. For example, with Austin power the amount you are paid for the electricity you feed back into the grid is only the "avoided cost" value of the electricity, not the full retail value. Other utilities do pay the full retail rate such as Green Mountain Energy.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

ThePublic Utility Commission of Texas ( PUCT) established a renewable-energy credit (REC) trading program that began in July 2001 and will continue through 2019. Under PUCT rules, one REC represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of qualified renewable energy that is generated and metered in Texas. A capacity conversion factor (CCF) is used to convert MW goals into MWh requirements for each retailer in the competitive market. The CCF was originally administratively set at 35% for the first two compliance years, but is now based on the actual performance of the resources in the REC-trading program for the previous two years. For 2010 and 2011 compliance years the CCF was 30.5%. The CCF increases to 32.2% for compliance years 2012 and 2013. Renewable Energy Credits must be obtained from power generated and metered in Texas . For latest information about the amount of Rec's to which a solar powersystem is entitled, and the current value of these Rec's, it is best to speak to local installers who are familiar with the current state of the REC market in Texas. Here is an example of the excellent returns that can be obtained from installing a home solar power system in Texas, based on the Austin Power solar rebate program: We need to find out how many REC's you get for a system in Texas and how much these currently trade at Here is an example of the excellent investment returns you can get by purchasing a home solar power system in Texas. The example is based on the Austin Power solar panels rebate at April 2012 and assumes no value for REC's.

Size of System (kw)  


Space required (square feet)  


Price of system per watt  


Price of power (marginal cost high usage kwh's) $ per kwh  


Average daily kwh produced per 1 kw of solar  


Total average daily production  


Total Price (before incentives)  


Federal Tax Credit  


State Tax Credit    
Utility Rebate (Austin)  


Actual out of pocket cost after incentives claimed  


Annual Power production  


Total Annual Energy savings based on net metering at 1:1  


Total Annual Return  


Annual Return on Investment  


Simple payback time: 4.5 years

Well Texan's it seems that going solar in Texas is the way to go, you have a very good overall package of incentives to get you making your own power, cool.    

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