* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.
The investment return and savings that can be made by buying solar panels varies more by city and utility in Texas than in any other state in the country. This is largely due to the fact that Texas’s electric utilities are deregulated, making it possible for people in most cities to choose which retail electric provider they want to use. This causes a lot of variation in the types of solar incentives available to the people of Texas.
In some cities like Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, upfront utility rebates are abundant. 1-for-1 net metering programs offered by providers create a great environment for homeowners to install solar. In the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where power is distributed by Oncor, available rebate programs can make solar a very good financial decision. These incentives, coupled with the 26% solar tax credit make it possible that a solar installation will pay back its cost in 8 years or less.
In other places in Texas, especially those served by rural electric co-ops, there are no upfront rebates or 1-for-1 net metering. The payback for systems in these areas can take up to 15 years.
The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Texas is currently $12,312 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.77 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.
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Prices based on a 5.5kW system, after 26% federal tax credit
Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.
Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.
(forecast avg Texas electric rates over the next 25 years)
The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses is the federal solar tax credit. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will decrease from 26% to 22% of the cost of the solar installation. Because home and business owners want to get the largest incentive amount possible, solar panel installation companies will likely be flooded with new projects before year’s end. In order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Texas is now.
If you live in big cities like Austin and San Antonio, and the Dallas area, you can get up-front solar rebates to reduce your cost of installation by thousands of dollars. The good news is that this covers a big chunk of the state’s population, the bad news is outside these major urban areas, there isn’t a lot of incentive coverage.
One statewide incentive that is available to Texans is a property tax exemption. That means all the value added to your home by solar panels is exempt from additional property taxes.
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2021 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.
Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.
Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Texas will fall during 2021.
Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.
A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 20-degree pitch roof Texas will generate 1,360kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in the Houston area.
Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.
The biggest advantages in Texas for installing solar panels are the big-city solar rebates and the 26% federal tax credit. That property tax exemption for the value added to your home by solar panels is nice to have, too.
Texans need a lot of electricity to run air conditioning and appliances throughout the year, but luckily roofs here can get plenty of sunshine.
The cons of solar in Texas exist mostly for people who live outside the service areas of the major utility distribution companies. In these places, it’s hard to find net metering and there are virtually no rebates. Add to that the relatively cheap price of electricity, and rural folks who want to gain the environmental benefits of renewable energy might be better off choosing a solar- or wind-based plan from their retail electric provider.
If you do live near a big city in texas, it’s time to claim the benefits of solar power for yourself.
This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:
If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Texas solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.
Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.
In light of recent events, we explore how Texans can protect themselves from future widespread power shut offs by installing solar panels and solar batteries.