*Solar panel cost varies by location, solar panel mqanufacturer, system size and the amount of electricity your home uses.
There are three ways you can reduce your Austin bill: changing your habits, switching your rate plan, and adding solar panels.
You've probably heard a lot about reducing energy consumption by doing things like switching to LED lightbulbs and adding insulation to your walls, but these fixes are relatively easy compared to the far more impactful step of making changes to your lifestyle.
The second thing you can do is switch your rate plan. Austin doesn't offer time-of-use billing that can help you save money by shifting your usage of energy-intensive appliances to off-peak hours, but there may be other options for you .
Finally, you can reduce or even eliminate your electricity bill by installing solar panels on your home.
For some people, the savings from switching rate plans may only be a few dollars per month, but for many it can be $20-$100 per month. That's between $240 and $1,200 that you may now be paying to Austin Energy each year for no reason.
Finding out what's available to you is as simple as a phone call or email to Austin Energy. Even a small savings can be worth it.
Yes! With Austin Energy’s standard solar rebate of $2,500, and the Texas solar property tax exemption, solar panels make a lot of sense here. Austin Energy’s net metering policy also allows you to at least get some credit on your power bill for the excess solar electricity your panels produce which you can’t use onsite. Your credits, while at a lower rate than you pay for electricity, roll over to the next month’s bill.
Way back in 2013, Austin Energy decided to stop paying homeowners full retail price for the energy their solar panels produce, and start paying them a set amount per kWh instead. It’s actually not as bad as it sounds, though! The "Value of Solar Tariff" (VoS) started out at 12.8 cents/kWh, which was actually quite a bit more than the retail price at the time.
Each year, the tariff amount is adjusted annually based on the latest and greatest run-through of Austin Energy’s VoS formula (pdf link). The tariff has fluctuated in the past several years, and now stands at 9.7 cents/kWh as of 2020.
The major financial incentive currently available until the end of 2021 is the 26% federal solar tax credit. The way this works is that the full cost of the system needs to be paid to the installer, and this tax credit can then be claimed back as cash when you next do your taxes.
Many states, local governments and utilities also offer incentives for homeowners who go solar. This help can take the form of state tax credits, rebates, tax breaks, SRECs or even performance-based incentives. The best part is that all of these incentives apply in addition to the federal credit.
Here is every incentive you may be eligible for as a Austin customer:
|Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Federal)||-$6,021|
Renewable Energy Property Tax Incentive
100% of cost of solar system not included in property taxes.
Austin Energy - Value of Solar Rate
performance incentive, $0.097 per kWh produced.
Austin Energy - Residential Solar PV Rebate Program
Requires completion of Solar Education Course. Installation must be via an Austin Energy approved Participating Solar Contractor. Minimum system size 3kW-ac.
*Based on 10.06 kW system, average installation cost $25,658
If you input the details for a Austin customer with a power bill of $160 per month into the best online solar panels calculator, it tells you that you need a 10.06 kW solar system that will produce 15,034 kWh per year and that this system will return the owner a $40,667 profit after repaying the cost of the system.
The solar savings possible for you as an Austin customer will depend on the amount of electricity you use and the cost of the solar system you buy. Savings also vary based on the direction of your roof or any shading of your roof that affects output.
Here is a monthly and lifetime solar savings estimate for the same relatively typical Austin customer with a $160 per month electric bill prior to solar and who installs a 10.06 kW solar system.
Showing data for:
Prices based on a 9.6kW system, after 26% federal tax credit
System Size (for 100% usage offset)
Annual Power Generation
Pay-back time (assuming Cash purchase)
Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on Investment
Total Upfront Incentives and Rebates
Net Cost of System after rebates and incentives
Total Cost of Utility Power Avoided over 25 years
While most homeowners decide to install solar panels because of financial savings over time, the environmental impacts of this choice are the primary motive for others. Here is a breakdown of the environmental benefits from an Austin Energy customer installing a 10.06 kW solar system on their property:A solar system generating 15,034 kWh per year will save you money AND make the world a nicer place
The cost of installing solar panels will vary with brands of solar panels and inverters you choose and also the installation company you choose to install them.
It is common to see really good systems, using quality brands of equipment, being sold for around $2.55 per watt or $12,987 for a standard 10.06 kW solar system after the customer claims the 26% federal solar tax credit.
Prove whether your roof can accommodate solar by assessing your system size, roof space, roof material, and roof condition today.
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