olar energy has become more than just a sustainable solution; it's an integral part of the modern energy landscape. With numerous benefits that include reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lessening reliance on fossil fuels, solar has gained tremendous traction across the U.S. Among the states leading the charge is Texas, where the sunny climate and favorable policies have created a ripe environment for solar growth. This article dives deep into the current clean energy achievements, exploring top local solar providers and finding out whether solar is still worth it in 2023.
Current Solar State
Known for its vast landscapes and scorching sun, TX is rapidly becoming a beacon for solar energy. With a total installed capacity of 18GW, the state ranks second nationally for solar power. But what makes it so suitable for solar?
With about 5 peak sun hours on average, it has an ideal climate for harnessing solar energy. The combination of sunny days and progressive policies has positioned it at the forefront of the solar movement. Not only does this translate to more efficient energy production, but it also emphasizes the vast potential for solar energy growth.
Is Solar Worth it in the State?
Solar System Prices
Local solar prices currently average at $2.69 per watt, which is lower than the national average of $2.95/W. A standard 6kW system would be around $16,140 in the state. The good news is that it’s often not the actual price you have to pay, as there are various ways to significantly lower that number and make solar more feasible.
Solar Incentives and Tax Credits
- ITC (Investment Tax Credit): The Investment Tax Credit is a federal incentive that offers a 30% deduction on the cost of your solar system. For a 6kW system costing around $16,140, this would reduce your net cost to approximately $11,298. It's one of the most generous incentives on this list.
- Oncor Residential Solar Program: Oncor Electric Delivery offers a significant incentive for residential solar + battery systems ranging from 3kW to 15 kW. Homeowners can receive up to $9,000 toward the system cost, providing a substantial reduction in upfront expenses.
- AEP Texas SMART Source Solar PV Program: American Electric Power (AEP) provides another appealing opportunity for clean energy adoption. They offer up to $3,000 for solar PV systems up to 30kW. This program is designed to encourage more Texans to embrace solar energy, thus contributing to the state's ambitious renewable energy goals.
- Net Metering: While there is no state-wide net metering program, some utility companies will purchase the excess power you produce. This means that if your solar system generates more electricity than you use, the excess energy can be sold back to the grid. The availability and rates can vary by region, so it's wise to check with your local utility company for details.
Payback Period and ROI in the State
To understand whether an investment is worth it, it’s useful to think about the payback period and the return on investment. The payback period term is pretty straightforward, it simply shows how much time it takes for your system to pay for itself through savings. The return on investment, on the other hand, shows the system’s profitability over its lifespan. In other words, it’s a percentage that illustrates how much money it will save you after the payback period.
Let’s take a look at averages. The payback period for a TX system is around 10 years, with an ROI of about 30%. For example, if you have a 7kW system, receive 5 peak sun hours daily, and paid $13,000 for the system, here's what you can expect: the payback period would be around 5 years, and the ROI would be 500% - five times the amount you initially invested. Impressive, isn’t it?
Keep in mind that these are averages and can vary depending on various factors, including location, solar panel efficiency, and other factors.
Top Solar Installers in Texas
Finding the right solar company can be as challenging as it is crucial. However, some standout solar installers in Texas have earned a reputation for excellence. Let’s explore some of them.
Green Power Energy
Green Power Energy isn't just another solar company; they make the process easy and pleasant. Since 2009, they have dazzled customers with their service, extending from solar system installation to roofing. Their incredible ratings across various review websites reflect their commitment to customer support before, during, and after the installation process. What sets them apart? Their turnkey solar installation systems, battery storage offerings, and EV charging options.
TX Solar Professional LLC
A new player but a formidable one, Texas Solar Professional LLC is certified by NABCEP. What distinguishes them is the range of solar panels they install, from S-energy to Q-cell panels. Their team, though fewer than 25 workers, boasts over 7 years of individual experience in the energy industry, demonstrating both professionalism and expertise.
Solartime USA Inc
Family-owned and founded in 2009, Solartime USA Inc. stands out for handling entire projects from the initial consultation to the final inspection. They've worked with over 40,000 families and businesses, managing permits, inspections, and everything in between. Their 25-year labor warranty exemplifies trust in their services, from installation to solar repair & maintenance.
Efficient Home Services
12 years in business and an A+ rating on BBB showcase Efficient Home Services' commitment to quality. More than just a solar provider, they offer roofing and battery storage solutions as well. What’s actually special is their free energy evaluation offer. They will analyze your home and help you minimize energy loss by switching to more energy-efficient appliances, improving insulation, and other solutions. It’s a nice addition that reflects their customer-first approach.
Affordable Solar, Roof, & Air
A name synonymous with quality, Affordable Solar, Roof, & Air boasts fantastic reviews, 4.9/5 stars from 700+ reviews on Google. Their 25-year roof warranty and competitive prices set them apart, reflecting their dedication to both quality and affordability.
Choosing the Right Company: A Step-by-Step Guide
Selecting the right firm isn't merely a decision; it's a strategic move that leads to years of commitment to one institution. Here's a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you make the best choice among the plethora of solar installers in Texas.
Understand Your Needs: Before diving into the world of solar, understand your energy requirements. Assess your consumption pattern, the type of system you desire, and your budget. Your unique needs will guide you to the right company offering solar setups tailored to your home or business.
Research and Compare: No two solar providers are alike. Delve into their service offerings, customer reviews, and the technology they utilize. Compare different providers, their reputations, and practices. This stage will ensure you find a company that resonates with your specific needs.
Verify Credentials and Reviews: Trust but verify. Check the credentials of potential solar installers in Texas. Are they certified? What do online reviews say? Engage with previous customers if possible, and ensure that the company's service aligns with your expectations.
Get Multiple Quotes: Soliciting quotes from various companies will give you a broader perspective on pricing and services. Don't be lured by the cheapest quote, as quality and long-term support are paramount.
Frequently Asked Questions
Solar comes with several queries. Here are some commonly asked questions:
Q: Does the value of my property increase with solar panels?
A: It definitely does. According to a study by Zillow, properties with solar panels sell for 4.1% more. A sustainable energy solution and higher property value - it's a win-win.
Q: Can I install my own panels?
A: While it's possible, working with professionals ensures safety. Proper connections and correct panel positioning increase the efficiency and longevity of your system. Besides, many manufacturers void their warranties for panels not mounted and connected by professionals.
Q: What does the warranty cover?
A: Warranties differ across companies, but most cover material and workmanship defects. Check with the company you’re interested in for specifics.
Q: Is solar taxed?
A: Solar is generally not taxed, but it's always wise to check with local authorities for any exceptions.
Q: Can I add more panels to my system?
A: Yes, but consult with a solar expert for compatibility and requirements. You might need to upgrade other system components to match the new power output of your setup.
Texas stands at the front of the solar revolution, embodying a blend of innovation and commitment to a sustainable future. Solar energy is more than a wise economic decision; it's a step towards a cleaner, greener world. With leading solar companies guiding the way, Texans have the opportunity to harness the sun's power at affordable costs and be part of the community that shapes our future. The road to solar is not just a trend; it's a meaningful journey, shining a light on the possibilities of renewable energy in the state and across the world.