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Solar Panels in Texas: A Bright Idea for Big Savings

With an abundance of sunshine and rising electricity rates, more Texans are looking to solar energy to power their homes and save money. Texas now ranks 2nd in the nation for solar energy generation, with enough solar installed to power over 1.8 million homes.

If you‘re a Texas homeowner considering making the switch to solar, you‘re probably wondering: How much do solar panels cost in Texas? How much can I realistically expect to save on my electricity bills? And what incentives and rebates are available to help make solar more affordable?

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll break down everything you need to know about solar panels in Texas, including average costs, potential savings, and how to calculate the right system size for your home. We‘ll also highlight the best solar incentives in Texas and recommend some top local installation companies. Let‘s shed some light on solar savings in the Lone Star State!

Average Cost of Solar Panels in Texas

According to recent data from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the average cost of solar panels in Texas is $2.77 per watt. For a typical 6kW (6,000 watt) system, this translates to a total cost of $16,620 before applying any incentives or rebates.

However, the exact cost of your solar panel system can vary significantly depending on a few key factors:

System size: The number of solar panels you need depends on your electricity usage and available roof space. A larger system will cost more upfront but can also result in greater long-term savings.

Sunlight exposure: Texas is a big state with varied geography and climate. Homes in sunnier western cities like El Paso will naturally generate more solar power than cloudier eastern areas. This affects how many panels you need to cover your electricity needs.

Equipment: Higher-efficiency monocrystalline solar panels cost more than polycrystalline panels but can generate more power in a smaller roof space. The brand and wattage of the panels you choose also impacts the overall system cost.

Installation company: With hundreds of solar installers to choose from in Texas, it pays to shop around. Larger national companies may charge more than small local installers. Compare quotes and read customer reviews to find the best installer for your needs and budget.

On average, Texans can expect to pay between $10,878 and $22,896 for a solar panel system before incentives depending on their location and the equipment used. The good news is that with the right combination of state and federal incentives, most Texans can significantly reduce their out-of-pocket cost (more on that later).

Calculating Your Solar Panel System Size and Cost

Every home‘s energy needs are unique, so it‘s important to size your solar panel system based on your own electricity usage patterns and home‘s characteristics. Here‘s how to estimate how much solar you need:

  1. Calculate your average daily electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You can find this on your utility bill or by using an online electricity usage calculator. Let‘s say your home uses an average of 30 kWh per day.

  2. Find the average peak sun hours for your closest city using the map at For example, Dallas averages 5.54 peak sun hours per day.

  3. Divide your daily kWh usage by your peak sun hours to find the kW size of the system you need. In this case, 30 kWh / 5.54 peak sun hours = a 5.41 kW system (rounded up to 6 kW).

  4. Multiply the system size in kW by the average cost per watt to estimate your total cost. For a 6kW system at $2.77 per watt, that would be $16,620 before incentives.

Keep in mind this is a rough estimate and your solar installer can provide a more exact system size and cost proposal based on a professional assessment of your roof and energy needs. You can also use our free Texas Solar Calculator to instantly estimate your system size, cost, and savings based on your address and electric bill.

How Much Can Solar Panels Save You in Texas?

The upfront cost of solar panels may seem steep, but when you factor in the lifetime energy savings and incentives, going solar can be a smart financial move for most Texas homeowners.

Based on the average Texas electricity rate of 12.8 cents per kWh, a 6kW solar panel system would save you approximately $922 per year on your electric bills. Over the 25+ year lifespan of your solar panels, that adds up to over $23,000 in electricity cost savings!

Of course, your actual savings will depend on many factors, including your system size, electricity usage, local utility rates, and available incentives. In general, most Texans who go solar can expect to break even on their investment in 8-12 years. After that, your solar panels will essentially be generating free, clean energy for your home for decades to come!

Going solar also protects you against future electricity rate hikes. While the cost of traditional electricity continues to rise, the cost of solar energy has fallen 53% in the last 10 years alone. By generating your own power, you can lock in low, stable energy costs for 25+ years.

Plus, having solar panels can boost your home‘s value. A recent study found that solar homes in Texas sell for 4.6% more on average than homes without solar. For a median-value $200,000 home, that‘s an extra $9,200 in your pocket when you decide to sell!

Texas Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits

Now for the really good news: There are several generous incentives available that can drastically reduce the cost of going solar in Texas. Here are the ones you need to know about:

Federal Solar Tax Credit: This nationwide incentive offers a 30% tax credit on the total cost of your solar panel system. If your system costs $16,620, you‘d be eligible for a $4,986 credit on your federal income taxes.

Solar Energy System Property Tax Exemption: Texas allows you to exempt 100% of the appraised value of your solar panel system from your home‘s property taxes, so installing solar panels won‘t increase your property tax bill.

Solar Rights Law: Texas has a solar rights law that prevents HOAs from banning solar panels on homes. You can still install solar even if your HOA has restrictions.

Net Metering: While Texas doesn‘t have a statewide net metering law, many utility companies let you send excess solar electricity back to the grid in exchange for credits on your electric bill. Austin Energy, CPS Energy, Green Mountain Energy, and El Paso Electric all offer net metering programs.

Local Rebates: Some local utility companies and municipalities offer cash rebates for installing solar panels. For example, CPS Energy in San Antonio gives rebates of $2,500 per project, while the city of Sunset Valley (near Austin) offers rebates of $1.00/watt up to $3,000.

With all these incentives, the average 6kW system that originally cost $16,620 would only cost around $9,134 – nearly half off the initial price! Be sure to check with your solar installer about which incentives you qualify for.

Best Solar Companies in Texas

Texas is home to over 770 solar companies, including some of the largest national installers as well as small local companies. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to find a reputable installer. Here are our top picks:

NRG Clean Power: With over 30 years of experience and offices in Houston and Austin, NRG is one of the most trusted solar companies in Texas. They use high-quality equipment from brands like Panasonic and LG and offer an industry-leading 25-year warranty.

Circle L Solar: This highly rated local installer has completed over 500 residential and commercial projects across the Austin, San Antonio, and Houston areas since 2007. Circle L is known for excellent customer service and competitive pricing.

TNC Solar: If you‘re in North Texas, check out TNC Solar, a top-reviewed installer serving the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. TNC provides free home energy audits and custom designs systems based on your energy goals and budget.

Sunshine Renewable Solutions: With locations in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, Sunshine is a leading solar installer known for transparent pricing and educational customer support. All of their installers are NABCEP certified.

Be sure to get quotes from multiple installers and read customer reviews before signing a contract. You can also use EnergySage to receive free quotes from pre-screened installers in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Texas

Still have questions about going solar in Texas? Here are answers to some of the most common ones:

Is solar worth it in Texas?
For most homeowners, yes! With high electricity usage, ample sunshine, and generous incentives, installing solar panels is a smart investment that can save you tens of thousands of dollars in the long run on your electricity costs.

How much does solar cost in Texas?
The average cost of solar panels in Texas is $2.77 per watt, or about $16,620 before incentives for a 6kW system. With the federal tax credit and other incentives, most homeowners end up paying around $9,000-12,000 for their system.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay for themselves in Texas?
This depends on your electricity usage, system size, and available incentives, but most Texans can expect to break even on their investment in 8-12 years. After that, your solar panels will be generating free electricity for the remainder of their 25-30 year expected lifespan.

Can I get the federal tax credit for solar panels in Texas?
Yes, all homeowners in Texas are eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit, which covers 30% of your total system cost. The tax credit steps down to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034, so the sooner you go solar, the more you can save.

Do I need a south-facing roof for solar panels?
While a south-facing roof is ideal, solar panels can work on roofs that face east or west too. Your installer will optimize your panels‘ orientation and tilt to maximize sun exposure. Even if your roof isn‘t ideal for solar, you may be able to install ground-mounted solar panels instead.

Will solar panels increase my property taxes in Texas?
No, the Texas property tax code allows you to exempt 100% of the value of your solar panel system from your home‘s taxable value. That means you can enjoy the increased home value from solar without paying more in property taxes.

The Bottom Line

With some of the highest electricity usage in the nation and no signs of utility rates decreasing, installing solar panels is one of the best ways for Texans to save money on energy long-term. When you factor in the state‘s abundant sunshine, the generous 30% federal solar tax credit, and local incentives, solar is a bright investment for most Texas homeowners.

The sooner you make the switch to solar, the sooner you can start saving. We recommend getting quotes from a few different reputable solar installers to compare your equipment and financing options. Most companies offer $0-down solar loans that let you start saving right away.

Don‘t let the upfront cost of solar scare you away from the incredible savings. Over the 25+ year lifespan of your solar panels, you could save $20,000 or more on electricity while doing your part to create a more sustainable future for Texas. The solar savings are big and bright in the Lone Star State!