Is it a good idea to go solar as an Entergy Texas customer?
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If you’re one of Entergy Texas’ nearly 500,000 customers, you’re in a different boat than the majority of Texans when it comes to how you get and pay for your electricity.
That's because 85% of Texas participates in a deregulated electricity market that allows home and business owners to choose what energy company they buy their electricity from, which allows them to potentially get lower electricity rates. Because Entergy Texas is a regulated electric utility, their customers don’t get to make those same choices when it comes to how much they pay.
If you live in one of the 27 counties serviced by Entergy and you’re tired of paying them an arm and a leg for electricity, you can still take matters into your own hands even though you can’t pick your electric provider. How? By investing in solar panels.
In fact, Entergy’s solar buyback program can save you hundreds of dollars a month. We’re making this process even easier by breaking down everything you need to know about going solar with Entergy Texas.
Despite the fact that it is not required by the state of Texas, Entergy does offer a solar buyback program for their homeowners looking to install solar panels on their home.
Under Entergy’s solar buyback program (which they call ‘net metering’), the energy your solar panel system produces will be used by your home, which reduces how much electricity you take from Entergy, thus lowering your electricity bill.
When your solar panels aren’t producing electricity, like at night, that’s when your home will take electricity from Entergy (the grid) to cover your energy usage.
In some cases, your solar panels will produce more electricity over the course of the billing cycle than your home uses. When this happens, the excess solar energy is sent to the grid, and Entergy pays you for it in the form of a bill credit. These credits can be used to offset your future energy costs.
While the good news is that Entergy gives homeowners credit for excess solar energy that is sent to the grid, the not-so-good news is that extra solar energy is credited at a ‘buyback rate’ that is lower than what Entergy charges you for electricity.
The solar buyback rate varies depending on the season:
|Summer (May - Oct)||$0.039 per kWh|
|Winter (Nov - April)||$0.049 per kWh|
*Based on average avoided energy cost estimates for one megawatt-hour of solar
So, while you pay Entergy around $0.10 per kWh of electricity you use from the grid, they only pay you around $0.04 for the extra solar you send to them. But, getting something is better than nothing!
Yes; if your monthly bill amount is less than the value of your net metering credits, the remaining credits will carry over and be applied to your next bill.
If at any point your net metering credits are worth more than $50, Entergy will cut you a check. However, it’s pretty unlikely that would happen - you would need to generate over 1,000 kWh of excess solar energy in order to snag that $50.
Yes, Entergy Texas residential solar customers will have to pay a minimum monthly bill of $10 that cannot be offset by solar credits. No matter how much solar energy you generate, you will always have to pay at least $10 per month.
You have options! Entergy offers three different monthly payment schedule options for solar homeowners, that influence how your solar energy production is measured and how you’re billed. The one described in this article, called ‘Option 2’, is the default option for solar homes. It’s also the one that will provide the majority of homeowners with the most savings possible.
Homeowners with solar that are also customers of Entergy Texas can choose between the utility’s two residential rate riders: the Residential Service Rider and the Residential Time of Day Rider.
Under Entergy’s Residential Service Rider (which is just another way of saying 'rate'), homeowners are charged $0.07 per kWh of electricity used from the grid. You’ll get charged a lower rate between November and April for any kilowatt-hours used in excess of 1,000 kWh over the course of the month.
Aside from the $0.07 per kWh energy charge, you’re also charged a Fixed Fuel Factor of $0.03 per kWh used. With this in mind, you’re actually being charged about $0.10 per kWh of electricity you use from Entergy under the Residential Service Rider.
Homeowners can also choose the Residential Service - Time of Day rate Rider, where the rate you pay for electricity varies depending on the time of day. You’ll pay a higher rate for electricity during ‘on-peak hours’, and a lower rate during ‘off-peak hours’.
There are different rates for summer months (May through October), and for winter months (November through April), which are outlined in the table below:
|On-peak rate||$0.19 per kWh||$0.14 per kWh|
|Off-peak rate||$0.06 per kWh||$0.06 per kWh|
On and off-peak hours also vary depending on the season. On-peak hours are from 1 PM to 9 PM on weekdays in the summer. Electricity consumed during all other hours and on weekends are billed at the off-peak rate.
During the winter, on-peak hours are from 6 AM to 10 AM, and again from 6 PM to 10 PM. Just like with the summer months, all other hours and weekends are billed at the off-peak rate.
If you’re considering solar, you should stick to the Residential Service Rider in order to get the highest savings. If you choose the Time of Day plan, your solar system will be producing the most electricity during off-peak hours, thereby leading to lower savings.
Think of it this way - under the Time of Day plan, the solar energy your home uses at 12 PM is only worth about $0.06 per kWh, while under the Residential Service plan it’s worth about $0.10. The value of the energy your solar system generates is worth more under the Residential Service plan.
No, Entergy Texas does not offer any solar incentives or rebates to their customers.
However, Texans looking to go solar are in luck! The Lone Star State has a renewable energy property tax exemption in effect, so when you install solar on your roof, your property taxes won’t increase, even though the value of your home will.
And best of all, most Entergy Texas homeowners are eligible for the 30% federal solar tax credit, which helps offset a substantial portion of your installation costs.
Before your solar system can start generating electricity, there’s a little bit of paperwork that needs to get done. Luckily, most of this will be handled by your solar installer, so you won’t have to worry about it.
Entergy’s solar application package must include:
Your installer will also make sure that they obtain and submit any building, electrical, or solar-specific permits required by your town or county. Permitting is the longest part of the interconnection process and can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to complete, depending on where you are.
The actual installation of the solar panels is pretty quick, typically just a few days. Once that’s complete, Entergy Texas will conduct an inspection of the system to make sure it meets all of its safety and operating requirements. Once you get permission to operate, your system can start generating solar electricity and you can start saving money!
Despite Entergy Texas having a low buyback rate for excess solar energy, it’s still worth it to at least consider solar for your home. It’ll give you the ability to bring your monthly electric power bill down from hundreds of dollars to just $10 - who wouldn’t want that?
Even so, solar is a pretty hefty investment, with the average system in Entergy Texas’ territory costing about $20,000, including incentives. But, with the help of financing options like solar loans and the potential for substantial electricity bill savings, solar can definitely be a worthwhile investment for Entergy Texas customers to give them the energy freedom they deserve.
Of course, the actual cost of an installation and the savings you get will depend on your specific situation. How much energy do you use? What’s your roof like? What equipment do you want to use? All of this will impact how solar can help you. The easiest way to see if solar can meet your unique needs is by using our state-of-the-art solar panel cost and savings calculator.