Solved! Are Solar Panels Worth It in Texas? 8 Factors to Consider
Installing solar panels can help homeowners save money by using a renewable energy source, but are solar panels worth it in Texas? Here are some important facts that Texas homeowners will want to know.
Q: I’m interested in installing solar panels on my Texas home, but I would like to know if they’re worth the investment given the state’s unique climate and energy landscape. What are the estimated long-term savings on average electricity bills and the overall return on investment? What are some of the benefits of adopting solar energy solutions in the Lone Star State? Are solar panels worth it in Texas?
A: Solar panels can be a worthwhile investment in Texas because of the abundance of solar energy and the potential for significant savings on energy bills. Texas receives plenty of sunlight year-round, making it an ideal location for solar energy systems. The average home energy consumption in Texas varies depending on the size and energy efficiency of a home, and daily energy consumption may fluctuate due to weather conditions and household activities. These factors may affect the extent to which solar is worth it for an individual home. But generally, by installing solar panels, homeowners can generate their own electricity during peak sun hours and reduce their reliance on the power grid.
The savings that can be achieved with solar panels depend on current electricity rates. For those who have high electricity rates, switching to solar energy can result in substantial savings over time. However, for homeowners whose electricity bills are already low, the savings may not be as significant. The size of the solar panel system that’s installed and its level of efficiency will directly affect the amount of electricity it can generate. A larger and more efficient system can generate more power and lead to higher savings.
With Texas being prone to frequent power outages, having energy storage batteries as part of a solar power setup can provide peace of mind. These batteries can store excess electricity generated during sunny hours and provide backup power during outages. While the electricity grid connection is necessary to supplement solar energy during cloudy days or nighttime, investing in solar panels can significantly lower costs for electricity.
The cost of solar panels in Texas varies depending on several factors, such as the size of the system, the type of solar panels, installation costs, and any available incentives or rebates. Solar panel prices can change over time due to market fluctuations and technological advancements. Homeowners may want to consider asking for a quote from one of the top solar companies in Texas like SunPower or ADT Solar for more personalized pricing information.
How much do solar panels cost in Texas?
The overall cost to install solar panels ranges from $18,100 to $35,064, with homeowners spending an average of $26,579. Installing a Tesla solar roof costs about $105,000 on average. The final cost can vary depending on the size and complexity of the system, but there are often various financial incentives, rebates, and tax credits available for solar installations at the federal, state, and local levels that can help offset these costs. To get a more accurate estimate of the long-term savings and return on investment (ROI), homeowners can consider consulting with local solar installers. They can perform a solar site assessment, taking into account the specific location, energy consumption, and other factors to provide a customized analysis. It’s worth noting that the solar industry is continually evolving, and policies, incentives, and electricity rates may change over time. It’s essential for homeowners to stay up to date with the latest information from reputable sources when making a decision. The current prices of solar panel systems will depend on the system size.
The price of energy is relatively high in Texas, so going solar can help homeowners save significantly on their electricity bills.
Texas has a history of high energy prices, and this can be attributed to various factors including the state’s large size, high demand for electricity due to hot temperatures, reliance on fossil fuels, and occasional weather-related events that strain the power grid. In 2022, homeowners in Texas paid an average of 13.9 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). That price reflected an 18 percent increase from average costs in 2021. Depending on the provider, electricity prices in Texas can range from 10.4 cents per kWh to 20.7 per kWh.
By producing their electricity with solar panels, homeowners can potentially offset the cost of their annual electricity consumption. This can lead to lower electric bills and may even result in excess electricity, which can be stored or sold back to the utility company through net metering arrangements. This not only helps homeowners save on energy costs but also contributes to a greener and more sustainable energy grid. If homeowners purchase an average-size solar panel system outright, over the span of 20 years, they can expect to save around $24,829. For those who choose financing, the long-term savings may be less.
Solar panels need about 4 hours of sunlight per day, so while sunshine is abundant in many parts of Texas, homeowners will want to assess whether their home gets enough direct sun to warrant the purchase of solar panels.
No matter where a homeowner lives, assessing the amount of direct sunlight a home receives is crucial before deciding whether solar panels are worth it for the home. It’s important to consider whether there will be sufficient electricity production to power the home at night when solar panels are not actively generating energy. There are several steps homeowners in Texas can take to determine whether their home gets enough sunlight for solar panels.
- Analyze roof orientation and tilt. The ideal roof for solar panels in Texas faces south to maximize exposure to sunlight throughout the day. Other orientations like southeast and southwest can also work, but south-facing roofs are generally the most efficient. The tilt angle of the roof can be considered to optimize sunlight capture.
- Check for shading. It’s important to inspect the surrounding area for any potential shading that might obstruct sunlight from reaching the solar panels. Trees, tall buildings, or other structures can cast shadows on the roof during peak hours, significantly reducing solar panel efficiency.
- Use solar maps and tools. Several online solar tools and resources are available that can help homeowners estimate the solar potential of their homes. These tools use satellite imagery and other data to provide an assessment of how many annual peak sun hours a specific location receives on average throughout the year.
- Consult with professional installers. Contacting a local experienced installer for a site visit and consultation can be beneficial. A professional solar installer can assess a home’s solar potential, taking into account factors like roof condition, angle, shading, and local weather patterns.
- Consider time-of-use electricity rates. In some areas, electricity rates may vary based on the time of day. If the local power company offers time-of-use electricity rates, solar panels could be more financially advantageous, especially if they generate electricity during peak-demand hours.
- Evaluate financial incentives and rebates. Texas offers various incentives and rebates for residential solar installations. These incentives can significantly impact the ROI of solar panels.
- Assess long-term plans. If a homeowner plans to move from their current home in the near future, it’s important to consider the payback period for solar panels. Typically, it will take several years for homeowners to recoup their initial cost and for solar panel installations to start generating savings.
Solar has the biggest return for homes that use lots of energy, and many Texans require a significant amount of electricity to cool their homes. Homeowners with high energy demands may find solar to be a worthwhile investment.
Solar energy can offer substantial returns for homeowners with high energy demands, particularly in regions like Texas where air conditioning is a major energy consumer. Larger homes also tend to have more significant energy needs, and Texas homes have relatively high square footage on average compared with the rest of the country. Solar panels can offset electricity costs by generating clean and renewable energy from the sun, reducing the reliance on traditional fossil fuel–based electricity.
Electricity use and energy usage are not the same thing, and homeowners will want to keep in mind that energy usage also encompasses propane and natural gas. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2021 monthly household electricity usage in Texas totaled 1,094 kilowatt hours on average. This translated to about $132.40 in monthly costs.
The cost of solar can seem out of reach, but there are plenty of incentives, such as rebates and tax credits, that can reduce costs and help homeowners save thousands.
A significant incentive for installing solar panels in Texas is federal solar tax credits. The Residential Clean Energy Credit, formerly called the ITC, allows homeowners to claim up to 30 percent of the installation costs as a tax credit. The local utility company may also offer incentives or rebates to encourage the adoption of solar power. These tax credits and incentives can further reduce the overall cost of electricity and increase the ROI. Homeowners in Texas can benefit from federal tax credits and state-level incentives, which can significantly reduce the up-front costs of installing solar panels, and they can make solar energy even more financially attractive. According to the renewable energy property tax exemption, homeowners in the state of Texas will not have to pay extra taxes due to the increase in property value that a solar panel system adds to a home.
Some Texas utility companies offer net metering programs for homeowners to sell back excess power for additional savings on their energy bills.
Net metering allows homeowners to sell excess electricity produced by their solar panels back to the grid, effectively earning credits or money. Understanding the net metering policies in Texas is crucial for determining the ROI of a solar panel installation. When the sun is shining and the solar panels produce more electricity than the home needs, the excess power is sent back to the utility service. A power conversion system is used to convert solar energy into electrical power compatible with the grid, allowing homeowners to feed excess electricity back into the grid.
The utility company will then credit the homeowner’s account for the surplus electricity. This credit can be used to offset the cost of electricity drawn from the grid during periods when the solar panels aren’t producing enough power, such as at night or on cloudy days. The homeowner’s energy bill reflects the net energy consumption, which takes into account both electricity purchased from the grid and excess electricity supplied to the grid.
For homeowners whose annual electricity generation from solar is relatively high, net metering programs can significantly reduce electricity bills and encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources. It’s worth noting that specific buy-back rates can vary among utility companies and regions.
|Utility Company||Buy-Back Rate per kWh||Retail Rate per kWh|
|Austin Energy||9.7 cents||~10.40 cents (average)|
|CPS Energy||Same as retail rate||11.30 cents|
|El Paso Electric Company||Same as retail rate||11.11 cents|
Solar panels can increase the value of a home, which may make investing in them worth it for those who intend to sell their homes.
Solar panels can increase the value of a home, making them a potentially worthwhile investment for homeowners who plan to sell their property. Below are some reasons solar panels can enhance the value of a home.
- Energy cost savings. Solar panels generate electricity from the sun, which can reduce a homeowner’s reliance on grid electricity. This leads to lower energy bills, providing immediate cost savings for the current owner and appealing to potential buyers who are looking for reduced utility connection expenses.
- Renewable energy appeal. As the world moves toward cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, solar panels hold great appeal for environmentally conscious home buyers. A property with a solar panel system may be seen as more desirable and up to date.
- Increased marketability. Solar panels can make a home stand out in the real estate market, attracting a broader range of potential buyers who are interested in eco-friendly and energy-efficient properties.
- Higher resale value. Homes with solar panels often have higher resale values compared to similar homes without solar installations. This increase in value can more than offset the initial investment in the solar panel system.
Solar power is an environmentally conscious energy option—ideal for homeowners who want to make sustainable living a top priority.
Solar power remains a leading solution for homeowners who prioritize environmental sustainability and want to make a positive impact on the planet. Solar power relies on harnessing energy from the sun, which is a renewable and virtually inexhaustible resource. As long as the sun continues to shine, electricity can be generated through solar panels. One of the biggest advantages of solar energy is that it does not release harmful greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide or methane, into the atmosphere. By using solar power, homeowners can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and continue to mitigate climate change.
With proper maintenance, solar panels can reach an expected lifespan of up to 35 years, which is typically long enough for the system to pay for itself.
With proper maintenance and care, the best solar panels can have an expected lifespan of up to 35 years or even longer. Many reputable solar panel manufacturers provide warranties that last 25 to 30 years, which reflects their confidence in the technology’s durability and longevity. The payback period of a solar panel system refers to the amount of time it takes for the cost of the system to be recouped through electricity savings. This period depends on various factors such as the initial cost of the system, local electricity rates, available sunlight, and any applicable incentives or rebates.
For a solar panel installation project, it’s important to choose the right solar panel size and type. Solar shingles cost less than traditional panels and are a valid option, but traditional rigid panels are more energy efficient. It’s essential to ensure there are no gaps between panels during installation to maximize energy production. Regular panel cleaning also helps maintain their efficiency, but otherwise, solar panels require minimal maintenance. It may be worth hiring one of the best solar panel cleaning services for this task. It’s recommended that homeowners schedule regular inspections to make sure the solar panels are clean and there are no broken wires or connections. It’s important to note that the efficiency of solar panels may gradually decrease over time, but it’s typically at a slow rate. The lifespans of individual components of the solar panel array may also vary.
|Batteries||5 to 15 years|
|Inverters||12 to 25 years|
|Solar panels||20 to 35 years|
Benefits like reduced energy bills, increased home value, and environmental sustainability are likely to make solar well worth the investment for homeowners in Texas. Added financial incentives can also make going solar more accessible.
Solar energy can be a highly beneficial and economically viable option for homeowners in Texas. Besides solar panels’ potential to reduce energy bills, increase home value, and contribute to environmental sustainability, financial incentives and net metering policies can make the transition to solar power even more attractive and accessible. The state of Texas benefits from a high number of annual peak sun hours and extended daylight hours, making it an ideal location for solar panel installations. Homeowners who are interested in solar energy can take the first step by getting in touch with a local installer. Solar installers can be found across the state as solar technology continues to advance and prices become more competitive.
Investing in a solar panel system is an excellent way for homeowners to utilize a renewable energy source and potentially save a significant amount of money on electricity costs. For those interested in solar panels, the following frequently asked questions can help with the decision-making process.
Q. How much can you save with solar panels in Texas?
If homeowners purchase an average-size solar panel system up front with cash, over the next 20 years, they can expect to save around $24,829.
Q. Is Texas a solar-friendly state?
Texas is considered one of the leading states in terms of solar energy capacity and potential, making it relatively solar-friendly. Several factors contribute to this solar-friendly status, including abundant sunlight, state-set renewable energy goals, solar initiatives and policies, a growing solar market, and a competitive electricity market.
Q. Do solar panels need to be cleaned?
Solar panels need to be cleaned regularly, and the cost can run from $150 to $750 for a professional cleaning. Regular panel cleaning helps maintain their efficiency, but overall, solar panels require minimal maintenance. It’s recommended that homeowners schedule regular inspections to make sure the solar panels are clean and there are no broken wires or connections.
Q. Can my HOA prevent me from installing solar panels in Texas?
Texas homeowners who belong to an HOA need not be concerned with HOA regulations regarding solar power. Texas has a solar rights law that prevents an HOA from banning solar panels on homes.
Q. How many solar panels are needed to power a house in Texas?
To determine how many solar panels are needed to power a house in Texas, homeowners will need to consider their annual energy usage, solar panel wattage, and production ratio. The production ratio is a solar panel system’s estimated output over time compared to the system size. These totals will give a rough estimate, but to determine the total number of panels, homeowners will need to examine various panels and discover the wattage. Overall, the number of panels that are needed equals the system’s size divided by the production ratio divided by panel wattage. A professional will be able to give more specific information on how many solar panels are needed to power a house depending on individual circumstances.
Q. Where is the best location for solar panels in Texas?
Some of the best locations for solar panels in Texas are generally the western and southwestern regions, but overall it depends on several factors that influence solar energy production. Some key considerations include solar irradiance or areas with higher amounts of sunlight, orientation and tilt of the solar panels, shading, temperature, and local regulations.