Community solar is one way to improve citizens’ accessibility to solar energy. The following resources provide an overview of community solar, its benefits, and current community solar programs in Texas. The Texas Community Solar Guidelines is a resource developed by NCTCOG to aid nonprofit utilities in the development of their own community solar programs.
What is Community Solar?
Community solar is the sharing of renewable solar power from a centralized source. As distributed generation and customer demand for solar grow, community solar offers an excellent opportunity for utilities to give their customers what they want while retaining control of generation in their service area. Also referred to as shared solar or solar gardens, community solar consists of a central installation that provides customers with an opportunity to opt into the solar installation and receive a proportional share of financial or energy output of the system, thereby allowing customers to realize the environmental and economic benefits of solar energy without requiring a solar installation of their own.
In this way, community solar offers a promising opportunity to extend access to solar electricity to the 85 percent of energy consumers who either do not own their homes, have roofs that are shaded or not appropriately oriented, or who have difficulty financing standalone photovoltaic systems[i].
Community solar is a cooperative approach to solar. It enables… utilities to do what they do best: engage with their members, provide affordable power, and maintain a safe and reliable grid.-The National Rural Electric Cooperative, The Community Solar Playbook (2016)
Community solar is being actively pursued in Texas—by Municipally Owned Utilities, Electric Cooperatives, Investor Owned Utilities, and Retail Electric Providers proving that Texas offers a conducive environment for community solar. In fact, the number of active Texas community solar projects grew from two to five between 2015 and 2016. Many more projects are expected to come online in 2017 and beyond.
Texas is poised to further expand community solar thanks to its permissive regulatory environment, availability of financing (in part due to the extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit), and falling solar costs.
Texas Community Solar Guidelines
The Texas Community Solar Guidelines for Electric Cooperatives and Municipally-Owned Utilities was developed as a high level primer for how a Texas non-profit utility can launch a community solar project. It provides a summary of community solar, its recent growth in Texas, technical resources to reference, and an overview of the major community solar decision points. This document is for Texas non-profit utilities and was informed by Texas community solar project managers.
How Much Do Solar Panel Cost in Coppell, TX
The average cost of solar panels in Coppell, TX, is 5000.6 per watt. The amount is almost the same as the average cost of solar panels in the United States. Most homes in Coppell can rely on a 6 kW even on cloudy days. The output of the panels can reduce to 25% when the sky is not clear. You can apply for government solar installation incentives (26%) to reduce the cost.
Total cost of 6 kW solar panels: 2.6 × 6,000 = 15,600
Solar panel installation ITC (26%): 15600 × 26% = 4,056
Net Cost (Total Cost – ITC): 15,600 – 4,056 = 11,544
Every month, you spend around 120 on electricity bills. The amount could be higher than that, depending on your consumption. Cumulatively, you spend close to 450,500 on electricity bills annually. The amount you spend on utility bills for 8 years is enough to install a solar panel system in Coppell, TX.
You will enjoy free energy after the payback period, which is around 8 years. Most solar panel systems can last for 30 years or even more. That means for 22 years, or even more, you will not incur utility expenses for 22 years. However, the capacity of the panels can reduce to 85% after a decade. To take care of the reduction, you can add more solar panels to boost the capacity.
Solar Panel Incentives in Coppell
Texas does not have any statewide solar rebates. However, most utility providers like Oncor and CoServ offer incentives to their clients. You should apply for solar rebates early in the year because they are usually limited. Organizations that advocate for green energy also offer solar installation incentives.
The federal government offers investment tax credit at 26% of the total cost. Previously, the ITC was 30%, but the government reduced it in 2020.
You can also get solar financing from our partners. We have loans and leases which have lower interest rates than ordinary loans. The payment terms are also friendly. You can get long-term loans through zero-down financing options. If you meet all the requirements, you can go solar with the amount you spend on your electricity bills annually.
Uses of Solar Energy
Solar power has numerous uses- large scale and small scale. Like conventional electricity, you can use solar energy to heat, light, cool, dry, and run machinery. Unlike the other source of energy, solar does not emit harmful gases into the atmosphere.
The energy is used to run home appliances and electronics. You can use to run fridges, TVs, ovens, phones, blenders, among others. The power can also run garden machineries like mowers, chaff cutters, and irrigation systems.
In modern technology, solar energy is used to run electric cars. There are other innovations under tests like solar roads and ships. The power can also run air conditioners, heaters, and coolers.
In large scale applications, solar energy is used in factories to run machinery. Solar power plants are common in industries that want to reduce their carbon emissions.
Texas Solar Energy Incentives and Rebates Guide
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average Texan home uses 14,000 kilowatt-hours per year. Local electricity are relatively low, and the residential sector is charged around 11 cents/kWh. Considering these values, annual electricity bills add up around 450,540 for the average Texan home.
Texas offers many incentive programs for residential solar power systems and they are managed separately by each Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU), regardless of your Retail Electricity Provider (REP). The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar power systems is the main exception, being a federal incentive.
This guide describes the main incentives for solar power and energy efficiency that are available in Texas. Keep in mind that incentive programs are constantly changing, so make you you also check the incentive websites directly before a purchase decision.
Texas Solar Incentives
Texas allows both solar leases and solar PPAs (Power Purchase Agreement), giving homeowners additional purchase options beyond a cash purchase or loan financing.
Texas used to have a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and local utilities were subject to a renewable energy target of 3% by 2015. However, this target was met very quickly due to the Rapid growth of wind power in Texas, and a new target has not been established. Since there is no active RPS law in Texas, state-level incentives for solar power are limited.
Texas Energy Tax Credits
Since Texas does not have a state income tax, providing a state tax credit for solar panels is not possible. However, there is a property tax exemption for solar power systems, which works as follows:
- A solar panel system makes your home more valuable, typically by 20,000 or more.
- However, in Texas you are not taxed for the increase in home value.
Unfortunately, solar panels have no such exemption for the sales tax in Texas. Depending on where you live, this tax adds between 6.25% and 8.25% to the cost of your solar PV system.
The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar power is not a Texas incentive, strictly speaking, but it counts. If you invest in a solar power system for a home or business, you can deduct a percentage of its cost from federal taxes. The incentive has been 30% for many years, but it will be gradually phased out between 2020 and 2022, according to the following table:
If your solar power system includes batteries, they are covered by the ITC if they get at least 75% of their charge from solar panels. Also, the percentage of the ITC that applies for batteries is proportional to the solar charging percentage:
As the solar ITC is phased out between 2020 and 2022, the battery ITC will be phased out in the same proportion.
Texas Solar Panel Rebates by Utility Provider
As mentioned above, Texas lacks a statewide rebate program for solar power systems. However, individual rebate programs are available from Texas utility companies (TDUs and municipal utilities).
Must qualify for Austin Energy rebate
Consider that rebates are constantly changing, and the best recommendation is checking the utility websites directly.
- Many rebate programs have an annual funding limit, and they become unavailable until next year when the funds are depleted.
- When new funds become available, the terms and conditions for rebate programs are often reviewed and updated.
- Several energy providers offer net metering plans for residential customers and solar buyback programs for commercial buildings.
Texas Solar Incentives Available in 2023
Sunlight is free, but being able to harness that energy to power your home can come at a cost. That’s why the federal, state, and local governments have financial incentives available to those who want to invest in a solar energy system for their homes. As a solar energy company, we want to help homeowners better understand the various tax credits and rebates available across the U.S.—including the Texas solar incentives.
Home solar panels can save money by offsetting the amount of power you need to purchase from the electricity grid. Plus, rebates can lower the initial investment so that homeowners can recoup their upfront cost and start saving money more quickly. If you’re thinking about going solar, this article will guide you through the various incentives that can help you get the most out of your investment in clean solar.
Available Tax Incentives, Credits, and Rebates in Texas
In Texas, there is no statewide solar rebate program or state tax credit. However, numerous other incentives can help you lower the cost of solar at both the federal and utility levels. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of incentives, we’ve featured the most common and well-known Texas solar incentives that might be available to you in 2023.
Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Federal Solar Tax Credit—otherwise known as the Residential Clean Energy Credit—allows you to deduct up to 30% of the cost of installing your residential solar power system from your federal taxes. So, what does that mean exactly?
At Palmetto, we like to think of the Residential Clean Energy Credit as a coupon for 30% off your home solar installation that’s funded by the federal government. For example, if your solar installation costs 20,000, you could theoretically receive 6,000 back in federal tax credits, which you could then use to reduce your federal income tax owed in the year you installed your solar panels. In other words, the Residential Clean Energy Credit can significantly reduce or even eliminate the federal taxes that you would have otherwise owed to the government.
If you do not have federal tax liability in the year the solar system is installed, you can claim the credit when you do have tax liability for up to 5 years. Note, however, not everyone is eligible to qualify for the Residential Clean Energy Credit. Check with your tax professional for more information.
Property Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Systems
Texans who install a solar- or wind-powered device to produce energy for their residence or place of business are entitled to exempt the amount of value the device contributes to their property. While anything with “exemption” or “credit” or “refund” sounds amazing, what does that mean in terms of your solar energy system?
For solar owners, this exemption means that anyone who installs solar panels on their property doesn’t have to pay taxes in an amount equivalent to the property value increase as a result of adding solar. It’s a win-win: your solar system could increase the value of your home, and you don’t have to pay property taxes on it. We think it’s a great benefit, especially for homeowners who need a larger system to offset their electricity usage.
Local Utility Company Solar Rebates
As we mentioned above, Texas does not have a statewide rebate program that compensates you for going solar. Instead, several utility companies offer rebate programs for going solar in their area. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and other small-scale electricity generators help offset the amount of electricity that utilities need to produce, transmit, and purchase from elsewhere.
Here are some examples of utilities and cities offering solar rebate programs in Texas:
Net Metering Programs
Unlike some states, Texas does not have a statewide net metering program in place. This unique billing mechanism credits solar homeowners for the extra electricity their solar power system generates and adds to the electric grid. With net energy metering, you are billed for the net energy used: The difference between the total energy your solar power system produced and the total energy consumed by your home.
Your electricity meter keeps track of the excess power fed to the grid. It also measures the power drawn from the grid when your home needs more electricity than your solar panels can produce (like at night or on a cloudy day). Comparing these amounts gives you the net energy usage.
While many utility companies and retail electricity providers across the state offer net metering (also called solar buyback programs), not all of them do. Texas homeowners serviced by Transmission and Distribution utilities can leverage Palmetto’s partnership with Shell Energy, rebranded from MP2 Energy in 2022, for competitive electricity rates and solar credits.
In deregulated areas of Texas, utility companies are referred to as a Transmission Distribution Utility, or TDU. The TDU delivers the electricity to your home through the poles and wires, but generation and billing happens with competitive electric suppliers known as Retail Energy Providers or “REPs”. TDU customers of Oncor, Centerpoint, AEP, and TNMP can leverage Palmetto’s partnership with Shell Energy, a Retail Energy Provider, to receive a bill credit when exporting excess solar to the grid.
If you are serviced by an electric cooperative or municipal utility, then you are unable to choose an electric supplier like Shell Energy. However, most cooperatives and municipal utilities offer fair solar net metering programs.
Consider Palmetto as Your Solar Energy Company
As a company on a mission to halt climate change and expand access to clean energy for everyone, Palmetto wants to help as many people as we can go solar and reduce their carbon footprint. We invite you to join us on our journey by installing a solar panel system on your Texas home.
Get started today with an instant quote and savings estimate from Palmetto, and learn more about how the solar power federal tax credit can help reduce your out-of- expenses. It’s time to take advantage of the federal tax credit, as well as the other Texas solar incentives that your local government and utility may offer.
Finally, visit our Texas page for more information on going solar in your state.
Texas Solar Incentives
There is not a statewide tax credit for Texas yet, but most utility companies offer incentives for homes and businesses going solar, as well as for adding battery backup and making home improvements that help with energy efficiency. The availability of these incentives varies throughout the state, but many utility companies offer a rebate on a price per watt basis for going green with energy.
While some utility companies offer a rebate for solar power, others use net metering. Net metering is an arrangement between the utility company and property owner that allows any overproduced solar energy to be sold back to the power grid. The money from this is typically applied as a credit in the next bill. Unfortunately, net metering is not available everywhere, so it is something you need to contact your utility company directly to find out if they offer it.
Some cities also offer their own incentives for solar power. For example, in Austin, there is a property tax exemption for homeowners with solar power. Here is a list of the sites for the other solar incentives and rebates available in Texas.