You don’t have to look very far to understand why going solar in Texas is a good idea. Between the state’s sunny position on the plant and its commitment to renewable energy, Texas is a state where solar energy thrives on multiple levels.
Cities across the state are investing in solar by increasing the required equipment to rack up hours and hours of megawatt energy. In 2017, the state ranked seventh in the nation of megawatt hour capacity and grew solar employment to over 8800 jobs for the year. Numbers for 2018 are still being calculated but are expected to see an increase paving the way for 2019 to follow suit.
One of the biggest reasons that the state has become such a leader in solar energy is due to the Texas solar incentives that residents, and even commercial businesses, can experience by using the renewable power source.
The Best Incentive for Texans
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), The Solar Investment Tax of 2006 offered stability to an industry that had a rocky start. Since then, the industry has experienced a 59% increase in solar growth throughout the country. This is great news for Texas residents as they begin making their own investments in solar energy.
The federal tax incentive allows for a 30% deduction (from your federal taxes) on an installed solar panel system. This is great news for homeowners and businesses that decide to invest in solar energy. In fact, a Texas resident can expect to save anywhere between $4000- $5,000 on their solar panel system according to EnergySage. While this incentive is not just for Texas residents, it is the most cost worthy incentive, which is why it tops our list.
Here is how the federal tax incentive for solar will evolve over the coming years.
- 2016 – 2019 — There is a 30% federal tax that can be claimed from the cost of your solar panel installation and system.
- 2020 — New residential builds and commercial business owners can take a 26% deduction on their federal taxes.
- 2021 — New residential builds and commercial businesses can receive a 22% deduction from their federal taxes.
- 2022 – on — New commercial builds can deduct 10% from their federal tax bills, and a residential tax incentive will not be offered. Now is the time to invest if you are a Texas resident interested in solar energy for your home.
Texas Solar Incentives
Most major metropolitan cities in Texas offer some type of rebate program for their residents. These rebate programs are designed to create a sense of stability that doesn’t come from using traditional utility companies. The rebates provide an attractive kickback and vary depending on location. Here are a few examples of what is going on across the state of Texas.
- Oncor Utility Users – This utility company doesn’t offer a net metering arrangement, but does offer a cash rebate of about $0.54 per megawatt installed. In a typical home solar panel installation, this can add up to over $500. Solar users who connect to the local utility grid will also receive credits for the electricity they generate from their system.
- CPS Energy – This company offers a rebate program that will give you about $1.20/megawatt installed on your roof. CPS Energy is one of the nation’s largest municipality-owned electric and gas companies, serving the greater San Antonio area. The company has allocated more than $14-million for rebate programs for San Antonio solar installers.
- Austin Energy – Residents in Austin will receive a rebate from Austin Energy depending on how much solar power is installed on their home. This rebate will range from $.50-.80 on a typical solar panel install. The company also has a solar tariff which will give you a kickback on the kilowatt hours of energy that your solar panels generate.
- Garland Power – The EnergySavers program with Garland power is designed to reward residents who produced solar energy. After you meet their installation requirements, you can sign up earn credits for your solar panel system.
- City of Sunset Valley – As a partner with Austin Energy, residents who live in the city of Sunset Valley will get an additional $1.00/W rebate on there solar panel installation.
Net Metering Cities
Net metering defined: Solar energy can be turned into credits for energy it provides to the main utility grid. In many cases, a solar panel system will produce more power than a household will need during regular daylight hours. When this happens, a home electricity meter will run backward to give the homeowner credit. This credit shows up on the utility statement decreasing a homeowners energy bill of $1,000 per year. (a national average)
There are no statewide net metering policies when it comes to solar energy in Texas. Some might argue that they are on the way, but until then, many cities offer net metering options for solar panel systems.
Cities such as El Paso, Green Mountain, and Brenham have programs that will allow a homeowner or business to connect to their local utility grids and sell back their unused solar energy. This is usually reflected in a credit on your energy bill, that you can experience immediately in just the first month of your solar installation.
If you are wondering why you would have any sort of a bill with a solar panel system, keep in mind that there are adverse weather days and evenings when your solar panels will not produce energy for your home or business. Your solar panel batteries will likely be able to keep up with most of your energy needs, but your connection to your utility company will ensure you do not have an interruption in electricity service.
Say Yes to Property Tax Exemptions
Another Texas solar incentive of adding sun-energy to your home is that your property value will increase as a result. The state of Texas wanted to make sure that homeowners and business owners were not penalized for making a solar investment. A property tax exemption was created to prevent taxes from rising on this kind of property investment. The state does not mandate property taxes, these are done on a local level, so state legislators voted to protect residents with this exemption.
Don’t Forget the Social Incentives
Now that you fully understand the financial Texas solar incentives by investing in solar power energy for your home; let’s not forget the social incentives which are the more significant impacts of renewable energy. Your decision of going solar will not just impact your bank account or utility bills, in fact, your decision will affect the planet in all kinds of ways.
- Carbon Emissions – The Environmental Protection Agency states that an average U.S. household creates around 20 metric tons of carbon emissions that pollute our planet each year. Solar panel systems reduce this by 3-4 tons in the same period which doesn’t rely on the burning of fossil fuels.
- Water Use – Traditional energy, like nuclear power, uses water in the process of producing electricity. Solar energy uses very little water and therefore conserves another precious resource.
- Public Wellness – With fewer fossil fuels comes fewer health problems for people around the planet. Respiratory issues have been linked to a number of pollutants that solar just doesn’t produce.
- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – Each time someone decides to invest in a solar panel system they are providing employment and revenue to a community. The US economy has seen a year after year increase in job creation and company formation in the solar industry.
- Lifestyle – Solar energy users are trailblazers and inspire current and upcoming generations for the care and wellness of the planet. You never know who you will encourage to live more sustainably based on your leadership in going solar.
- Good for Business – Not only will employees enjoy being a part of a sustainable culture, but customers will feel good about patronizing businesses that are doing their part to save the planet.
Here are some recent solar energy advancements in Texas as reported by The Texas Solar Energy Society.
- Georgetown, TX – The city received a $1-million grant from Bloomberg for a storage center and solar roof combination project.
- Pflugerville, TX – Gets 144MW solar project with the help of Austin Energy.
- Alamo 6 – One of Texas’s largest solar farms, approves a 315 MW plant that will break ground in the third quarter of this year.
- 25 counties- Texas now has 25 counties that have a solar plant or solar plants in development.
The facts are in, and the future looks pretty bright when it comes to solar energy in the Lone Star State. Texas has over 2845 hours of sunlight per year, that is a lot of potential for both residents and business owners who want to reap the benefits of a solar panel system. The decision to go solar is made easier by all of the Texas solar incentive programs that are offered by local and federal agencies.