Texas: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy
Texas is the third fastest-growing solar energy leader in the United States, according to the Houston Chronicle, which reported separately that Texas solar is “on a roll” in its projected growth over the coming decade.
That is just one of the ways whereby Texas solar panels have seen a positive response and rise in recent years. As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state sixth in the country — less than a percent of the state’s electricity is derived from solar energy but the sheer size of Texas means that statistic is still resounding. Additionally, SEIA ranks Texas third in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.
Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2013—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in Texas. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.
Like every other state, the installation of Texas solar panels is aided by a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar panel systems under the Lone Star State’s nourishing sun.
A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.
Austin, TX: Solar Energy Success Stories
Chris and Krista live in West Austin, Texas, with their two children. They installed solar roof panels on their home as a way to save money on their utility bills.
“It cut our electricity cuts in half,” Chris said about their home improvement project. “I like watching the meter go backward,” Krista quipped.
And they’re far from the only Texas solar energy customers glad about their investment. Learn more here.
Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. Texas residents can expect to save nearly close to $14,000 over 20 years.
Keep in mind this data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification.
A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you. When it comes to Texas’s solar energy, existing financial incentives (and policy) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.
Texas Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings
There are currently nearly more than 115 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in Texas. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).
If you’re lucky, your city might even pay you to install solar panels.
“The city of Georgetown wants to start paying property owners to let the city-owned utility install solar panels on their roofs and feed the energy into the broader power grid,” reported a Texas NBC News affiliate. “The money would come either in the form of lease payments or royalties paid to eligible residential and commercial property owners.” If you’re not so lucky with your Texas solar panels, read on.
Solid contractors installing solar panels in Texas will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your solar contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.
Renewable Energy Systems Property Tax Exemption
Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and Texas is investing right back in them. Texas homeowners are exempt from paying taxes on the increased value of their home after installing solar panels, whether for general electrical needs, solar heating, or otherwise. And that’s a full exclusion, covering “100 percent of the appraised property value increase arising from the installation or construction of a solar or wind-powered energy device.”
Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.
Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing
Since 2009, the Texas legislature decided to make it easier for homeowners to “to borrow money to pay for energy improvements.” The details and implementation of this financing is not simple, and we recommend you get specific advice from a trusted contractor about getting it in order.
Not all projects for Texas solar panels require financing, and you should decide the best way to pay for your project based on your needs and your budget. If you have questions about the best way to approach making this decision, consult your local contractor, who will assess your house and upcoming project and provide a few options to pay for it.
Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.
Other Texas-specific solar energy programs include:
- El Paso Electric Company – Net Metering
- Austin Energy – Residential Solar PV Rebate Program
- City of San Marcos – Energy Efficient Home Rebate Program
- Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative – Renewable Energy Rebates
- City of Dallas – Green Energy Purchasing
- Pedernales Electric Cooperative – Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
- New Braunfels Utilities – Energy Efficiency and Water Conservation Rebate Programs
Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $15,428 to $10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.
That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.