Is it a good idea to go solar as an Entergy Texas customer?

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Entergy Texas is a regulated utility company that services 27 counties throughout southeast Texas. Image source: Entergy Newsroom

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.

See how much you will save monthly by switching to solar
 

Entergy Texas and solar at a glance

  • Entergy Texas, Inc. has a solar buyback program in which the power generated by your solar panels fully offsets the cost of the electricity your home uses, up to your monthly usage.
  • If your solar panels generate more electricity than your home uses, Entergy Texas will purchase that excess electricity from you for about $0.04 per kWh.
  • Entergy requires its solar homeowners to pay a $10 monthly fee that cannot be offset by bill credits.
  • Most solar homeowners will want to use the Residential Service rate plan to get the best solar savings possible.
  • Entergy itself does not offer solar incentives, however the state of Texas has a property tax exemption for homeowners who install solar panels, and most Texans will also qualify for the federal solar tax credit, which greatly reduces the cost of a solar panel system.

Entergy Texas’ solar buyback program 

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

How does it work? 

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. 

How much does Entergy pay for excess solar energy? 

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: 

Table 1. Entergy solar buyback rates in 2022
Season Buyback rate*
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!

Do net metering credits carry over? 

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. 

Is there a monthly minimum bill? 

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. You can read more about the other payment options here.

Entergy Texas rate plan options for solar homeowners 

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. 

Residential Service 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. 

Residential Service - Time of Day 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: 

Table 2. Entergy’s Residential Service - Time of Day Rider rates
  Summer Winter
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. 

Which rate plan is best for going solar? 

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.

Does Entergy Texas offer solar incentives? 

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 26% federal solar tax credit, which helps offset a substantial portion of your installation costs. 

Find out which solar incentives & rebates you qualify for

Entergy Texas solar interconnection process 

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:

  • A signed application
  • A signed Interconnection and Parallel Operation of Distributed Generation (IPODG) agreement
  • One line diagram of the system 

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! 

Is going solar with Entergy Texas worth it? 

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

 - Author of Solar Reviews

Catherine Lane

SolarReviews Blog Author

Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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