Making the decision to use solar energy for your home is one of the best investments you can make. The most reliable way to protect yourself from the rising cost of electricity while also saving thousands of dollars on your utility bills is to go solar.
The vast expanses of open sky and abundant sunshine are synonymous with the great state of Texas. With nearly 300 sunny days per year on average, taking advantage of the sunshine has never been easier – there are hundreds of qualified solar companies ready to assist you in harnessing the sun’s energy!
Aside from a large number of companies to choose from, there are a plethora of different solar panel brands, types of inverters, storage options, and financing and leasing options to consider. Several homeowners find themselves overwhelmed during the preliminary research stage due to the large number of options available to them today. Fortunately, that is where we come in. We will assist you in narrowing down your list of companies to speak with and determining which questions to ask, allowing you to feel confident that you are making an informed decision.
Solar Incentives in Texas
A number of states are offering enticing rebates and tax incentives in an effort to assist us in reducing our carbon footprint and achieving our renewable energy goals. These incentives are intended to make switching to solar power even more appealing.
With the implementation of a renewable energy property tax exemption policy, the state of Texas has already put you ahead of the game, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about your property taxes increasing as a result of your investment in solar energy.
There are also rebate programs available from many Texas utility companies to assist with the cost of installing the system. According to Austin Energy, residential customers who install at least 3 kW of photovoltaic solar panels on their properties will receive a $2,500 rebate. Additional financial incentives are available from other utility companies, such as CPS Energy and Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, to assist you in going solar and saving money.
Residents of the United States who install solar on their roofs are eligible for a federal tax credit equal to 26 percent of the total system cost, regardless of where they live or which utility company they are served by. That means that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will credit you back 26 percent of the cost of installing solar against your total federal income tax liability if you qualify.
In spite of the fact that the tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar credit as opposed to a deduction or exemption, you must have a tax liability to qualify for the full amount of the credit in order to receive it. In the case of homeowners who pay very little or no federal income taxes, there would be no tax liability to offset with the credit. In order to determine whether or not this credit will be beneficial to you, it is recommended that you consult with a professional CPA or Tax Advisor before scheduling consultations with solar representatives. It is possible to lease the system instead of purchasing it if the tax credit is not something that would be beneficial to you.
Leasing vs Purchasing Solar in Texas
A large sum of money is not always required to go solar, and you do not always have to pay for it all at once. Leases or Power Purchase Agreements are frequently more cost-effective options for making the switch to renewable energy. In addition, excellent financing options are available in the majority of areas. Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, for example, makes it even more convenient by providing on-bill financing for their customers!
You might want to consider speaking with a company that specializes in lease options as well as a company that specializes in purchases. Without a doubt, both companies will have a list of reasons why the products and services they provide are the best available – and you can usually expect to hear some good arguments on both sides.
When it comes to whether a lease or a purchase is the most advantageous option for some people, the answer may be crystal clear right away. It may save you time and effort to decide which companies will most likely make the most sense before you begin scheduling appointments, and then only schedule meetings with those companies that are offering the type of arrangement that will best meet your needs, before you begin scheduling appointments.
A system purchase is generally considered to be an excellent long-term financial investment. If you decide to purchase, you will be able to keep all of the incentives, and the new system will increase the value of your home significantly.
That is not to say, however, that you would be required to pay for the system in full at the outset. When solar was still in its infancy, some banks were hesitant to lend money to homeowners who wanted to install solar panels on their roofs. Solar energy isn’t new anymore, and the banks have shifted their perspectives on the technology. There are numerous local credit unions that offer Green Energy loans that require no money down and are specifically designed to assist you in making the most of your investment. A re-cast option is frequently available with these loans, allowing you to reinvest some or all of your incentive money back into the loan once you have realized its value. By taking advantage of the re-cast, you will be able to reduce your monthly loan payments significantly.
A HELOC, also known as a home equity line of credit, is a great way to use the equity in your home to finance your solar installation. HELOC interest rates are typically lower than those of a personal loan or a Green Energy loan, but they are typically variable – meaning that the rate can change over time – and therefore subject to change. Some financial institutions also provide home equity loans. In the same way that a HELOC works, you are borrowing against the equity in your home, but the interest rates are usually fixed.
Homeowners who use PACE loans, also known as Property Assessed Clean Energy loans, have been able to save money on their property taxes while also installing solar panels. It’s important to read all of the fine print on these because they can be a little tricky, but when used properly, they can be a fantastic solution. Due to the fact that PACE loans are secured by the property rather than your personal credit, they are an excellent option for financing your new system even if you have had credit problems in the past.
It will be easier to sell your home if you purchase your system rather than lease it, and once the system has been paid for, it is yours to keep and use as you please. When renting a system, on the other hand, there are usually some restrictions and costs associated with it when the lease period is over. The advantage is that the monthly payments are typically lower than the payments you would make if you were financing a system that you already own. This is partly due to the fact that the leasing company retains the incentives, which means that you are effectively making monthly payments on the net cost of the system rather than the pre-incentive cost of installing it, as was the case previously.
Using a leasing company is an excellent option if your primary goal is to reduce your monthly budget as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
In most cases, purchasing is the better option if you have a large enough tax liability to qualify for the tax credit and you want to get the best return on your investment.
Solar Equipment Options in TX
Making certain that your system is configured to meet your requirements is an essential part of the decision-making process.
The majority of solar panel manufacturers provide 25-year warranties on the power output of their panels. 25 years is a significant amount of time. I recommend that you choose a brand (as well as a contractor) that is unlikely to go out of business before the warranty period is completed. For now, it appears that Panasonic and LG are the most secure choices because they have been in the business for a very long time and because they have other sources of revenue to back up your solar warranties.
Panasonic and LG, on the other hand, are not the most affordable panels available on the market. Actually, the solar panels themselves are the least likely thing to cause you problems in the long run, if at all. A large number of common problems can often be traced back to a contractor who was hired to install the system. Choose the less expensive panel installed by a qualified professional if you’re working with a limited budget and must choose between a less expensive panel and a less expensive contractor.
PV, or photovoltaic solar panels, generate direct electrical current, which must be converted to alternating current, which is what we use in our homes, by passing it through an inverter. In part, the type of inverter you choose should be based on whether or not you intend to include a battery in your system, either immediately or in the near future.
Many people believe that having solar panels installed ensures that they will have electricity even if there is a power outage. This is a common misconception. You won’t be able to do it without a backup battery. Choose a contractor who is familiar with batteries and can properly educate you on the many different types of storage systems if you consider blackout protection to be important to you. Some battery systems are capable of supplying power to the entire house, while others are restricted to the most critical loads. Some are designed to be connected to the utility’s grid system, while others are designed to be off-grid. The majority of them can be added later as long as you use an inverter that is compatible with them.
Solar is no longer just for the early adopters; it has entered the mainstream in full force! Batteries, on the other hand, are still relatively new. California is currently offering rebates on battery systems, and it is not unreasonable to expect that other states, such as Texas, will follow suit in the near future. It is possible that preparing your system for the addition of batteries in the future will result in a lower cost for installation and will allow the industry a little more time to develop the technology.
Net Metering in TX
Solar is a significant financial commitment that many people only make once in their lives, making it critical to select a solar company that you can rely on. If you choose someone, make certain that they can explain how the billing structure for solar customers in your area works effectively to you.
When it comes to solar customers, “Net Metering” is the most common and, in many cases, the most financially advantageous billing structure available.
Because the solar electric generation and the house’s usage will vary from month to month, it is preferable to settle out once a year rather than on a month-to-month basis. Some months you will produce more than you need, and other months your home will consume more energy than the system produces. Essentially, the goal of net metering is to try to come as close to breaking even as possible on a yearly basis.
Companies that provide net metering will instruct you to defer payment of the electric portion of your bill until the end of each 12-month period in which you participate. Upon reaching the 12-month mark, you will receive what is known as a true-up statement, which will detail everything you have generated in comparison to everything you have used, as well as the net difference – hence the term “net metering.”
A qualified solar representative will be familiar with the rules and regulations for interconnecting with your local utility, and a reputable company will always adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the Texas Public Utility Commission.
We recommend that you look for the following characteristics in a company: one that can clearly and comprehensively explain your billing structure, one that offers the type of arrangement (lease or purchase), and one that offers the equipment that will work best for you.
- A company that performs all of its own work rather than relying on subcontractors.
- A company that has been in operation for a long period of time.
- It is important to choose a company that stands behind their work and provides a thorough warranty.
Best Solar Companies in Texas
1. Lighthouse Solar
Austin & San Antonio
2. SunPower by Freedom Solar
Austin, Houston, San Antonio, & Dallas/ Fort Worth
3. Good Faith Energy
Dallas/ Fort Worth
4. Victory Solar
Stafford (Houston Area)
5. Axium Solar
6. He Solar
Buda (Austin Area)
7. Solar CenTex
8. Erus Energy
9. Texas Solar Outfitters
10. Wells Solar and Electrical Services
Check with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to ensure that your solar company has the proper licenses to perform the work they are proposing, and that they are operating under their own license, if applicable.
The Better Business Bureau is a non-profit organization that regulates fair business practices and is an excellent resource for learning about a company’s history and background.
Consumer review websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are excellent sources of information about overall customer satisfaction.
Solar energy is a fantastic investment, regardless of whether you lease, finance, or purchase your system out right. With a large number of qualified installers, attractive incentives, and plenty of Texas sunshine, it has never been easier to make the transition to solar energy.