How to Switch to Solar Power?
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Solar Panel Systems Are the Right Choice For Texans
There has been a dramatic increase in the installation of residential solar panel systems across Texas in the last few years, thanks in part to the generous incentives and rebates currently available. In 2017, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked Texas as 10th in solar installations compared to the rest of the country. In 2018, SEIA reported that Texas had jumped into the 5th position!
More and more households are deciding to invest in solar energy because it makes smart financial sense. Electricity isn’t cheap in Texas. The average family spends about $130 per month on electricity, making Texas the 5th most expensive state in which to buy electricity. Residential electricity bills in Texas are roughly 20% higher than the national average1.
Long-term cost savings alone are not enough to motivate savvy homeowners to make the switch. The initial cost to install a solar power system is substantial and most homeowners do not have the capital to cover the entire investment. Fortunately, a number of federal and local incentives have been created in order to motivate Texans to convert to a solar panel system.
Wondering where to start? This page will help you make sense of what’s available in your area. At Momentum Solar, our goal is to make your conversion to clean, solar energy as easy as possible. If you have questions about going solar or are ready to get started, we invite you to contact us today.
How Do Residential Solar Panel Systems Work?
Ever wondered how those shiny black panels create energy? The process is actually simpler than you might think. Solar power systems in a residential system consist of three main components:
- Photovoltaic panels (PV panels): Typically mounted on the roof or another inconspicuous location, PV panels are the part of the system that generates electricity. These panels contain a layer of silicon cells. When sunlight hits these cells, electrons begin to move, which creates an electric current. Wiring within the panels captures this movement and directs the current into a solar inverter.
- Inverter: The panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, but the appliances used in our homes require alternating current (AC) electricity. The solar inverter component of a solar system is what converts DC electricity into usable AC electricity.
- Meter: The meter is used to measure the amount of energy generated by the system and used within the home. If you have a surplus of electricity on any given day, it will be exported to the grid. If your power company supports Net Metering, you’ll be giving credits for your surplus electricity.
Can a Solar System Actually Save Me Money in Texas?
With abundant sunshine and high energy costs, Texans are guaranteed to save a substantial amount of money over the lifetime of their solar system. Let’s look at the numbers:
- In 2018, a residential solar system costs an average of $33,000. If you buy or finance the system, you can use the 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit, which lowers the total cost of the system to $21,800.
- The average household in Texas spends around $1,550 per year on electricity. Based on current electricity costs, the solar system will be paid off within 14 years. This doesn’t take into account the future costs of energy, which are guaranteed to increase.
- After the system is paid for, it’s all savings. Over 25 years, homeowners can expect to save an additional $17,000 by using their solar panels instead of the electric grid.
- These estimates are based on current costs and assume you use all the energy you produce. If costs increase and/or you sell your surplus back to the grid, there is the potential to earn even more. Some solar experts estimate that the average Texan can save over $30,000 within 25 years.
Paying for Your System: Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits
It’s Never Been Easier to Go Solar in Pennsylvania
Homeowners in Texas can take advantage of a number of solar rebate programs and special incentives to help make the transition to solar power more affordable. These programs may change and new ones are added often, so we encourage you to contact Momentum Solar to ensure you are taking full advantage of the savings available to you.
Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
Also known as the federal solar tax credit, this allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of purchasing and installing a solar system from your federal taxes. The tax credit is available for anyone who owns their solar power system and is claimed on your annual return. If you don’t carry enough tax liability in one year to claim the full 26%, you may rollover the credit to future years. Homeowners who take out a loan to purchase their system can use the credit, but it cannot be used towards the cost of leasing a solar system.
It’s important to note that this tax credit is being stepped down over the next several years – the 26% rebate is only available until the end of 2020. After this, a 22% rebate is available until the end of 2021. After that, a 10% credit will be available indefinitely.
Solar Rebate Programs in Texas
Texas is not currently offering a statewide solar tax credit or rebate program, but local governments and utility companies have created a number of programs to incentivize Texans to go solar. Here are some of the programs currently operating:
- CPS Energy offers its customers a rebate of $2,500 for solar panels installed on their roofs.
- Austin Energy offers a rebate of $2,500 to its customers in Austin.
- There are other utility based rebates available depending on where you live and which utility company you have.
While Texas does not have a statewide net metering policy, most utilities offer credit for the power your solar system produces. This includes CPS Energy, Austin Energy, Pedernales Electric, and many electric providers within Oncor.
Texas Renewable Energy Systems Property Tax Exemption
The addition of a solar panel system will increase the value of your home. Since a higher home value can increase your property taxes, Texas has created a special tax exemption to ensure that you won’t be penalized for installing solar. In Texas, you won’t pay extra taxes for the value added to your property by your solar system.
Texas Net Metering
Net metering is a popular solar incentive. When a net metering policy is in place, you’ll receive credits for extra electricity that your panels produce. During periods when your panels aren’t producing enough electricity, you can use these credits rather than buying electricity.
While Texas does not have a statewide net metering policy, many utility companies have local net metering policies in place. These include CPS Energy, Green Mountain Energy, and El Paso Electric.
Solar Panels in Texas
Even with rebates and incentives, many Texan homeowners simply do not have the extra capital required to purchase their solar systems outright. Fortunately, there are low-interest loans available to cover solar installations, allowing homeowners to go solar for $0 down.
Annual savings on your power bill are should be greater than your financing loan-repayments, allowing you to enjoy savings immediately. At Momentum Solar, we are able to provide assistance to customers in Texas who are interested in financing their solar panel systems. Our knowledgeable team can help you find the best option available.
Choose Momentum Solar for Your Solar System
Choosing to go solar is the right choice for many Texans. At Momentum Solar, we know that untangling the solar incentives and rebates available in your part of Texas can be a challenging. We have a team on the ground in Texas that is up-to-date with the latest offerings and can help you utilize incentives and rebates so you can afford to go solar this year.
Here are some of the reasons why Texans like you are choosing Momentum Solar:
- Our team has been installing solar panel systems in Texas for nearly 10 years. We know how to plan a cost-effective system that will adequately power your home.
- We offer at 25-year warranty on our solar systems.
- Our panels have been rated as Tier 1 panels by independent analysts. This is the highest rating a panel can received.
There has never been a better time to install a solar system. Government incentives are at an all-time high and will be reduced at the end of 2019. Act now to lock in your savings and take control of your future. Our team is standing by to provide all of the information you need to get started.
1. U.S. Energy Information Administration (2012)
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