Texas is the second largest state in the country with a population of almost 28 million people, and it has been one of the top 10 solar states since 2017. That's when the number of homes in Texas powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) systems reached 225,726, with a total solar investment of $3,223.34 million. With 1,200 cities in Texas, the five largest each have more than 800,000 residents who increasingly see solar energy as a benefit. Solar prices have also fallen by 53% in the past 5 years, making the installation of PV systems more affordable.
How much do solar panels cost across the main cities in Texas?
Solar system cost in the five biggest cities of Houston, Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Fort Worth for a typical 6kw system are fairly similar before local incentives can can range from $10,900 to $14,000 after incentives. This compares well with the national average price of $13,188 for solar a system.
Residential solar systems average 6 kilowatts in size, with a starting price of $17,000 to $18,000 before applying tax rebates and other incentives. You can calculate the cost for your residential address using this online calculator.
What rebates and tax credits are available in different parts of Texas?
The rebates, credits, and incentives that enable homeowners to achieve a reduction in price vary between the cities. Here are some options you can apply for.
Federal and State Incentives
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) makes provision for you to qualify for a tax credit of 30% of the cost of a solar PV system. This covers labor costs as well as equipment. At state level, the system you install could qualify for an exemption in property taxes. Homeowners in all major cities can take advantage of these incentives, and the 30% ITC or Residential Renewable Tax Credit is unaffected by state-level incentives homeowners are eligible to receive.
Statistics for Q3 2017 show Austin Energy currently supports almost 6,300 residential solar systems, as well as multiple commercial, municipal and school projects. The City of Austin offers a residential solar rebate program, which requires homeowners to complete a solar education course followed by installation of a qualifying solar photovoltaic (PV) system in your home. This earns you a $2,500 rebate, while the course helps you get the knowledge you need to make an informed decision, reduce your energy bills and improve the environment.
The average cost of a PV system in Houston in 2018 is $3.56 per watt. Based on the most common system size of 6 kilowatts, this works out to $17,800 before incentives. In addition to the ITC, Reliant, TXU, Amigo Energy and Green Mountain Power all provide net metering credits for any extra solar power generated and exported to the grid. Reliant and Green Mountain also provide rebates of up to $4,500 for the installation of eligible systems.
Dallas still has huge tracts of farmland, and one of the incentives available is an annual rebate of up to $1,000 for energy-efficient upgrades for members of the Farmers Electric Cooperative. The rebate is provided in the year of installation, as long as requirements are met.
Oncor also provides incentives through participating service providers in its area, which offset the initial cost to customers. These programs run from January through November each year, but the 2018 program is already fully subscribed. Interested residents can apply to join the waitlist, however.
San Antonio residents who are CPS Energy customers can take advantage of $15 million allocated for solar rebates beginning in April 2018. Of this, $9 million was earmarked for residential systems and $6 million for commercial installations, provided they use locally-manufactured components. The rebate is capped at 50% of the total cost, as well as being limited to $25,000 for residential systems and $80,000 for commercial installations.
A number of similar incentives are available for the other cities in Texas, so why not input your residential address and get a customized quote from an installer?
Which solar system is right for your home?
Choosing the right PV system for your situation depends on several factors, such as your household’s energy requirements, current energy bills, geographical location and the weather. If you live in an area with frequent heavy rain or high winds, for example, you’ll need to select a system you that's durable enough to withstand the conditions.
Once you have an idea of the panels you want, it’s important to find out the following:
- efficiency rating, compared with the industry average of 16% to 18%
- check the warranty available against the industry average of 10 to 25 years
- compare the cost to the expected relative efficiency, to determine value for money.
Panels usually fall into premium, standard or economy categories, and prices vary accordingly, as do durability, warranties, and manufacturing quality. Read the reviews available on different types of panels and request quotes from several solar installation companies. This allows you to source a range of recommendations, which will help you decide.
Where can Texans find a list of the best solar companies in their local area?
You can find the best-rated solar companies in Texas online. For example, here’s a list of solar installers in San Antonio, which allows you to read feedback from real customers, request a free online quote or even write your own review.
Are the conditions ideal for solar in TX?
Texas is a sunny state with an average 236.8 days of sunlight each year. For a solar installation to be effective, panels need to have non-shaded, unobstructed space on the ground, the roof, or mounted on a pole, during key sunlight hours of the day. Facing south is best, but east- and west-facing roofs capture more than 80% of the power a south-facing roof does, according to Texas Solar Energy Society.
What are the benefits of going solar in TX?
By going solar in Texas, you can enjoy lower energy bills, improved resale value of your home, increased energy independence, security with backup power during outages, and a reduced environmental footprint. What’s more, you’re protecting yourself against higher bills in future, and since PV systems come with a 25-year warranty you can realistically expect an excellent return on your investment.
Are there any other solar options in TX?
Since Texas is an ideal location for making use of solar energy, there are multiple solar options you can consider. Solar water heaters, pool heaters and solar generators all complement a solar PV system, working together to ensure you not only have energy independence but that you have backup even for extended outages and poor weather events. And for residents who aren’t able to install solar on their roofs for any reason, community solar programs enable households to benefit by sharing solar-generated electricity among the members.
Is going solar worth it?
The solar rebates and incentives available to Texas residents can make a huge difference in the cost of your initial investment. They not only make going solar cheaper, but provide reassurance that you’re doing the right thing. Click here to find out how much you can save by going solar. The combined cost and environmental benefits make it worth it to consider installing a solar system on your home.