The United States is on the frontline championing going green through solar power initiatives. Homes and industries are projected to install approximately 4 million photovoltaic units by 2023 in various states (Source: Samson Solar Energy Center)
Texas will undoubtedly join other states as one of the forerunners in installing PV units. The federal government launched the construction of the largest solar energy center (Source: bicmagazine.com) in Texas to capitalize on the state’s sunny and warm climate.
Based on this revelation, you may ask: are solar panels worth it in Texas? Solar panels are worth it in Texas. With a large amount of sunshine, a wide range of cost-effective incentives, and clean, renewable energy, solar panels are excellent for the environment and your budget.
In addition, Texas has ideal weather conditions and offers solar tax incentives. But before you decide to go solar, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of solar panels in Texas.
Read on to find out more about why you should invest in solar panels in Texas.
How Climate Affects Solar Energy Harnessing In Texas
Texas is a vast state with a diverse climate. For instance, the southeast has subtropical weather, the coast of Texas is tropical, Central Texas exhibits a temperate climate, and the mountainous regions towards the west have an alpine climate. Other places, like the Panhandle area, exhibit a semi-arid climate.
We know that the amount of solar energy a region can produce is directly proportional to the number of sunshine hours available per year. Texas sunlight varies yearly depending on whether a hurricane strikes or not.
Overall, Texas has a good climate for solar power generation.
But you may ask…
How Can I Know If Solar Panels Are Worth It In Texas?
Although Texas has a suitable climate for solar and is the second-best state for solar conversion in the country, it does not mean solar panel is ideal for every Texan.
If you are considering solar in Texas, you should hire an experienced installer to determine if solar will benefit you and help you save money.
Here are some factors worth evaluating when deciding if solar panels will help your home.
- Electricity usage at your home.
- Cost of going solar in Texas.
- The average solar buy-back rates in Texas.
- Solar outlook.
- Your roof’s exposure to sunlight.
- Average pay-back period
Let’s briefly discuss how these factors can help you decide on solar energy.
1- Electricity Usage At Your Home
Most people install solar panel systems depending on their energy needs. If you consume more power at home, you will need to choose batteries for solar panels to store adequate electricity.
Solar panels will be worth it if you consume over 500 kWh per month; otherwise, it is not economically viable.
Texas is ranked the fifth state with homes consuming high energy. The average home consumes around 1130 kWh monthly, showing that solar panels will benefit many households.
Furthermore, the state has high energy prices, making switching to solar panels lucrative for most homeowners.
2- Cost Of Going Solar In Texas
The average per-wat price for solar energy in Texas is $2.69. And since the regular solar system size needed to offset the electricity bill is 11.5kW, residents in Texas invest around $21,654 on solar. This figure is computed after the 30% tax credit.
Although the initial investment for solar system installation looks scary, you will likely recover it in savings. Texas’ energy bill is $132.59 per month, showing that installing a solar system allows you to save.
3- The Average Solar Buy-Back Rates In Texas
What is a solar buy-back rate? The net-metering program allows you to supply excess solar power you produce during the day to the grid. You can then use the value of what you have supplied to offset the electricity you have used at night or on cloudy days.
Net metering can significantly reduce your electricity bill. Although Texas does not have a statewide program, several large utility companies offer their programs.
If your utility company does not have this program, you can switch to another company or source the best solar power storage systems to store the energy you can use when the sun is not shining.
4- Solar Outlook
Texas is only second to California in solar panel installation, with residents enjoying low prices of solar panel equipment. The state has a good RIO for solar panels at approximately $21,350 in savings over the panel’s lifetime.
In the next few years, Texas will likely experience a growth surge in solar panels, meaning households will save more.
5- Your Roof’s Exposure To Sunlight
Solar panels can only produce optimum electricity when the roof is facing the best direction to capture sunlight.
Generally, Texas has adequate direct and intense sunlight. It experiences 204 sunny days yearly, one day below the national average.
But even with these statistics, you should evaluate if your roof experiences shading that could affect your solar panels’ efficiency. Additionally, the roof surface where you want to install the panels should face south or west for optimum harnessing.
6- Average Pay-Back Period
The duration you take to recover the investment in solar panels is their pay-back period.
Most Texans offset their solar system expenses through energy bill savings between 10 and 16 years.
Pros Of Going Solar In Texas
Let’s now consider the benefits of investing in solar panels in Texas.
- Renewable energy: Solar panels provide clean and limitless energy. They capture sunlight and convert it into energy, powering homes and appliances.
- Reduced electricity cost: Although buying and installing solar panels is higher than conventional energy sources, you will spend less on electrical bills in the long run.
- Protection from outages: With solar panels, power outages will be a thing of the past, especially during sunny days.
- It is cost-effective: Texas has one of the highest electricity rates in the US, and investing in a solar system will reduce your monthly cost by a large margin.
- Net metering: Most large utility companies in Texas have a net metering program for their customers, making it easier for customers to receive credit for the electricity they supply to the grid.
- Federal tax incentive: The federal investment tax credit gives you the right to claim credit (26% of the system’s installation cost at the end of the year). However, the incentive will drop to 23% in 2023.
Cons Of Solar Panels In Texas
All is not positive with installing solar panels in Texas. For some homes in Texas, solar panels are not worth and here is why.
- Not ideal for every home: Although Texas is considered a sunny state in the US, it does not mean every home gets the same amount of sunlight.
- For instance, southern Texas receives more sunlight than the northern, meaning solar panels are less effective in the northern region. Some homes also have roofs affected by shading, thus limiting the amount of electricity you can generate.
- High Upfront cost: Some homeowners find the cost of solar panel installation high.
- Pay-back time: It takes an average of 12 years to offset solar panel expenses and achieve a positive return on investment. This duration may seem like forever but worry not; EnergySage estimates that you will save over $16,000 in 20 years.
- Maintenance cost: Although solar panels’ maintenance cost is relatively cheap, neglect or improper care can lead to a damaged system, thus causing more money spent. You can prevent this outcome by regularly cleaning your solar system with the right solar panel cleaning equipment.
How Much Does It Cost To Install Solar Panels In Texas?
Data from EnergySage shows that the average cost of installing solar panels ranges from $11,730 to $15,870. This means that the cost per watt in Texas ranges from $2.35 to $3.17.
However, EcoWatch shows that Texas’s average solar installation cost is $30,935 or $21,654 after considering the 30% federal tax credit.
Does Texas Have Solar Tax Credit?
Texas does not have a statewide tax credit for homeowners with solar panel systems; however, several utility companies and local governments offer incentives to households going solar.
Consider some solar tax credits you can take advantage of
- Austin Energy: It offers a rebate program of $2,500 in addition to its solar tariff value. This value pays you $0.097 per kWh your panel produces.
- CPS Energy: You receive $2,500 after installing solar panels on your roof. And if you locally source the panels, you will receive an additional $500 rebate.
- AEP Texas Incentive: It offers fixed incentives to residential properties ranging from $1,500 for 4.999 kWdc to $2,250 for 7.499 kWdc. On the other hand, commercial properties are eligible for $0.5 per watt for 25 kWdc.
What to read next:
- How Many Solar Panels to Power a House?
- How Long Can Solar Panels Last Without Sun?
- Are Solar Panel Trackers Worth It? (Including their pros and cons)
Are Solar Panels Worth It in Texas?
Several homeowners are becoming aware of their ability to harness electricity from solar panels in Texas. As electricity costs continue to rise, solar panels could help you save money by reducing your energy bill.
Furthermore, various incentives from utility companies and local governments in Texas make installing solar bearable.
So, is investing in solar energy worth it in Texas? Yes. It may be more costly upfront than other traditional power sources, but its long-term savings make them ideal investments in Texas.