As millions of Texans already know, solar panels produce clean and renewable electricity. Until recently, every kilowatt-hour of excess electricity was a kWh wasted, as there were no solar buyback plans in Texas. Now, thanks to improvements in state legislation, you can sell your surplus generation to your electricity company. Let’s read on and learn how you can benefit from excess generation.
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What is a Solar Buyback Plan?
Energy deregulation in Texas has meant that all the retail electricity companies had to compete against each other to ensure that customers stay with them and stay loyal. One of the benefits of deregulation is the solar buyback or a special form of net metering that was introduced by Texas power companies. This program allows you to sell excess energy generated by your solar panels beyond limits imposed by net metering.
For this reason, many solar owners connected to the electric grid choose to install more solar panels, as this is a great way to save and maybe even earn some cash (usually by selling RECs). One of the ways to save is by installing a smart meter and opting for net metering with your retail electricity provider. In this case, all excess solar power goes to the power lines and powers nearby houses. When you need more energy than your solar panels can produce, you pull the extra power from the grid.
You only pay for the net difference unless you’ve produced more energy than you’ve consumed. In the opposite case, the excess energy is credited to your bill for later use and is rolled over month after month. A solar buyback plan goes beyond this and rewards you for your excess electricity. With some providers, you can even get a higher electric rate for your excess generation than the rate you pay for electricity.
Feed-in Tariffs are rates that your electric company pays for your surplus generation. Unlike a simple net-metering, which is concerned with generation and consumption only (and treats them equally), a feed-in tariff sets a monetary value on each kWh that you produce and do not use. In most cases, however, the electric company will pay less for solar generation than they charge you for electricity consumed. Nevertheless, there are companies that can pay you more as they may see fit based on your location and energy generation capacity.
Performance-based incentives are another type of solar reward. Texas solar energy is on the rise, and with it, so are different solar incentives. Performance-based incentives reward you based on your generation only. In this case, your power consumption could be even higher than the generation. This renewable buyback incentive ensures you get rewarded for helping tackle climate change and reducing the stress on the grid.
It is important to note that you can also combine these incentives with other solar tax credits, incentives, and rebates. The Federal ITC is the most generous one, giving back 22% of your investment in the form of tax credits. Furthermore, each state has its own rebates and solar incentives that you can benefit from.
How Does It Work?
As your solar panels produce electricity, some of it is consumed. Although you may not be home as this happens, your fridge, your freezer, and your AC, as well as the vampire energy consumption, all work their way to consume precious kWhs. The remaining power generated is then sent to the grid. Your smart meter measures both the electricity sent to the grid as well as the grid usage – the energy you take back from the grid.
As this happens, during the summer months, Texas solar owners produce more electricity than they can consume. The situation is different during wintertime when a typical household consumes more power than it delivers to the grid. For this reason, net metering programs exist. They will count both the energy spent and the energy produced so that you can pay only the net difference.
While some power providers give you 0.9 kWh for every 1 kWh you send to the grid to account for the expected 10% energy loss; others may give you a full 1 kWh back. This net metering is slowly becoming the norm as REPs (Retails Electricity Providers) noticed that the power produced by the solar owners is valued more than power coming from renewable energy sources. A part of the reason why is because this is green electricity, the energy of the future.
For this reason, some REPs have introduced solar buy-back rates, which enable power providers to buy electricity from your solar panels that you do not consume. This electricity is then sent and charged to other users, usually at a bit of a higher energy rate than you can expect to get for the same amount of power you produce. This way, the net metering program incentivizes renewable energy production; in other words, it limits climate change and enables the expansion of renewables.
How to Qualify for a Solar Buyback Program?
To qualify for a solar buyback program, you should start off by investing in solar panels. Although sometimes costly, solar panels provide clean electricity for more than 20 years after their installation. This electricity is also free, meaning that you will be able to save in the long run. As an average solar array takes some 4-12 years to pay off, this means that you will be saving money for at least eight years with a residential solar power system.
In most cases, your provider will ask that you have an interconnection agreement signed with the local utility. Another prerequisite is having a smart meter installed. Residential solar buyback programs are usually available for solar arrays with up to 50 kW of solar capacity installed. This means that most Texas households would qualify for a solar buyback program.
Texas Electric Providers with Net Metering
In most of Texas, you can choose your REP and your electricity plan based on your budget, how much electricity you consume, and, if you are a solar array owner, based on how much electricity you expect to generate. As not all REPs offer buyback plans to their customers, we did a bit of research to find out which REPs offer them. Here is a list of the top 8 Texas power providers who give a solar buyback plan:
|REP||Electricity Plan||Contract Term||Early Termination Fee||Base per Month||Import (kWh)||Export (kWh)||Additional Conditions|
|Austin Energy||Value of Solar (VoS)||0 Months||$200||$10.00||$0.097||N/A||N/A|
|CPS Energy||Net Billing||N/A||N/A||$8.75||$0.12||$0.02||less than 1 kWh|
|MP2||Solar Buyback||12-24 Months||$149||$0.00||$0.1230 + TDU||Wholesale Price||rollover enabled|
|Green Mountain||Renewable Rewards||12-36 Months||$250||$9.95||Import = Export Price||Import = Export Price||up to 50 kWh & no rollover|
|TXU||Renewable Buyback||0-24 Months||$295||$9.95||$0.1490 + TDU||less than Import (kWh)||available Feb - April|
|Reliant Energy||Solar Payback||24 Months||$295||$5.00||Import = Export Price||Import = Export Price||no rollover|
|EPE||Net Billing||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||$0.12||Min of $30 per Month Charge,& Up to 50 kW Installations|
Austin Energy, working in the city of Austin, Texas, offers the so-called Value of Solar (VoS) credits to their consumers. Unlike other REPs, Austin Energy gives you a preset amount of credit (usually $0.097 per kWh) of power for every kWh you deliver to the network. Then, this amount is deducted from your power bill at the end of the month, and you are left with the amount owed. They also offer $0.60 and $1 rebates for solar arrays under 75 kWh in size.
CPS Energy has a hybrid solar buyback plan. With this type of plan, your solar generation is credited at an equal rate to the rate you pay for all solar generation up to the consumption level. Any more electricity you send to the grid is credited at a lower rate, usually the wholesale price of electricity.
MP2 Oncor Electric Delivery and Centerpoint Energy customers have the benefit of a net metering program. The buyback rate is the same as the retail rate. MP2 enables rollover, but only until December when the credits are nullified.
Green Mountain Energy also offers a net metering program. This program is available for residential and commercial customers with up to 50 kWh of renewable generation capacity. Unlike other REPs, Green Mountain enables its net metering to be extended to wind power as well.
TXU’s net metering program offers buyback rates that are lower than retail rates. Although some may frown at this, this is actually a common practice among many REPs. There are month-by-month and 24-month services offered for customers in multiple utility service areas. TXU feed-in tariff changes depending on your utility area and the ZIP code, so make sure you contact the TXU local office and ask about the rates in your area.
Reliant also has a net metering program of its own. Under this program, you get the feed-in tariff that is the same as the retail price. However, Reliant Energy does not offer rollover, and there is no crediting your bill above the consumption level. Check availability in your area.
EPE (El Paso Electric) net metering offers solar buyback for up to 50 kW solar installations. With net metering in EPE, your bill can be reduced but never nullified: the company will still charge you a minimum of $30 per month. If you do not have a meter of a newer generation, you can ask for one, and it will be installed on your behalf.
City of Brenham
The City of Brenham also offers net metering. This program is available only on the city territory. The city offers credit at the full price up to the consumption level for that particular month, while any generation above that threshold is credited at a wholesale electricity price. This is still a great offer, as it can deduct a lot from your power bill.
Benefits of Solar Power
Installing solar panels and enjoying the benefits of solar power is a model that has been proven over and over again. The entire idea of having free and clean electricity while selling excess solar energy to the grid is as good as it gets. Let’s remind ourselves of some of the benefits of solar energy:
- Solar energy is free,
- Solar energy is clean,
- Solar panels need very little maintenance,
- Solar panels generate power for more than 20 years if installed correctly,
- Solar energy helps mitigate climate change,
- Solar energy reduces your carbon footprint.
Should I oversize solar system?
In some cases, you may want to oversize your solar system. Many new residential solar system owners choose to build a system that produces around 10-20% more solar power than they can actually consume. This way, the 1-3% drop in efficiency of your solar PV array is taken care of even before the system is installed, and you get a more robust solar energy system that will last you for decades to come. On the other hand, if you have a chance to sell your excess solar energy to a solar company or even your utility company, you can oversize your solar array well beyond your actual needs and ensure that you produce as much renewable energy as you can.
How profitable is solar farming?
Solar farming can be very profitable. Namely, every acre of land can bring in anywhere between $20,000 and $60,000 if it is covered in solar panels. Once you have this much land-producing solar power, you can also go for combined solutions. Some countries, such as Italy and Spain, have started investing heavily in Agri Voltaics – large-scale solar panel systems that cover agricultural land. In the shade of solar panels, their regular produce (such as tomatoes) can produce up to 30% more biomass than in direct sun – providing you with an additional revenue stream and a chance to still work on the arable land.
What is a good solar feed-in tariff?
A feed-in tariff is a monetary compensation that solar energy producers (including residential prosumers) get for all the excess solar energy that their solar panels produce. The excess power is sent to the grid, and this surplus electricity is then used to power other homes in your vicinity. A good solar feed-in tariff (FiT) is The best solar feed-in tariff in the USA is between $0.078 and $0.15 per kWh.
Where can I sell my SRECs?
There are platforms where you can sell both your excess solar energy and your Renewable Energy Certificates. In the latter case, SREC Trade, Knollwood Energy, and Sol Systems can all purchase your SRECs and pay you for them. As the SREC incentives are to be ending soon, it is probably best to hurry up with your solar installation and have a good solar buyback plan to help you pay off your solar panels faster. This way, you will be able to enjoy your energy-independent future much faster.
Whatever the reason you want to go with solar energy may be, you should be aware that many REPs in the Lone Star State offer solar buyback options. And while some of them offer to buy your excess kWhs at a price lower than retail, some give you full price for every kWh of electricity produced. For this reason, maybe you should consider installing a solar array that can generate more electricity than you need – you can always sell excess electricity.
Each energy provider in Texas has its own solar buyback plans, and the terms vary with each. Some plans offer customers the same rate for the solar energy they contribute and the energy they use (net metering). Most, however, pay less than they charge.Is 2022 a good year to buy solar panels? ›
But there are other reasons why 2022 is an especially good year to invest in a solar panel system. Electricity rates across the country are rising and even doubling in some states. As those rates rise, the savings that come from installing solar only increase.Will solar prices go down in 2022? ›
Solar module prices will fall to 25 U.S. cents per Watts in 1H 2022, and 1-2 cents per Watt lower in 2H 2022. Polysilicon production has been the bottleneck in 2021.Can you sell back solar power in Texas? ›
How to Sell Solar Power Back to Grid in Texas. If your solar panels produce more power than you can use during the day, you can sell the excess power back to the grid. This is called solar buyback or net metering.Is there a Texas solar Program? ›
Texas doesn't have a statewide solar tax credit or rebate program, but a number of local governments and utility companies (large and small) offer incentives to homeowners going solar. Residents of the state capitol, Austin, are eligible for Austin Energy benefits.Does Texas have a free solar program? ›
While Texas doesn't have a statewide solar tax credit or solar rebate program, many utilities (large and small) and local governments offer incentives to homeowners who want to go solar. Here are some examples: Austin Energy: If you live in Austin, you can get a rebate of $2,500.What are the 2 main disadvantages to solar energy? ›
- Standard home solar does not “work” at night.
- Home solar panels are not attractive.
- DIY solar installation is difficult (if not impossible) for most homeowners.
- Not every roof configuration is ideal for maximum solar power generation.
- Solar manufacturing is not good for the environment.
Generally, the opportunity cost of waiting to go solar outweighs the financial benefits. Three reasons to go solar now include: increasing electricity prices, less financial incentives as the popularity of solar panels increases, and SREC programs becoming less available.Why is 2022 your last chance for solar? ›
There is currently a 26% federal solar tax credit, called an Investment Tax Credit (ITC), available for all homeowners who install residential solar panels between 2020 and 2022. That means 2022 is pretty much your last chance to take advantage of the 26% tax incentive.Will solar panels get cheaper in 2023? ›
That works out to about $26,125 for an average system of 9,500 watts before taking into account a federal tax credit. For the 2022 tax year, the credit stands at 26 percent of the cost of solar system; it is slated to drop to 22 percent in 2023 and end in 2024.
A few studies have shown that solar installations increase a home's resale value by up to $6,000 for each kilowatt of solar panels installed, or by about 4.1% of the home's value.Are solar panel costs dropping? ›
Solar panels are between 5% and 20% cheaper now. The government has cut the VAT rate on energy-saving materials like solar panels to 0% from April 2022 to 2027.How much power can you sell back to the grid? ›
But on average, you can make about $50-$700+ per month. How much you actually get paid is dependent upon factors like how big your system is and what time of day it is producing energy. It's important that if you are planning on setting up a solar energy system, check with PG&E or another electric company for rates.How does solar sell back work? ›
Many utilities offer a way to sell solar power back to the grid called net metering. If you have solar panels generating electricity at your home, you may generate extra electricity during peak daylight hours. With net metering, any excess power that you generate is sold back to the utility grid.How do I get paid for excess solar energy? ›
You can sell surplus power generated from your solar panels by registering under the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) through your power supplier. When you register, you'll get paid for every unit of electricity you feed back to the National Grid.Does solar increase property taxes in Texas? ›
Do solar panels increase your property taxes in Texas? No, they do not! The Texas Property Tax Code allows 100% exemption on the increase in assessed value of a property for installing a solar and wind powered energy device.How long does it take solar to pay for itself in Texas? ›
The average payback period for solar panels in Texas is around 13 years years. Your payback period will depend on the cost of your system and the amount of power it generates. The more energy your system generates the faster it will pay for itself.Which energy provider is best for solar in Texas? ›
- 10 Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Texas 2022.
- Sunpro Solar.
- Blue Raven Solar.
- Palmetto Solar.
- Elevation Solar.
How much are solar panels in Texas? As of November 2022, the average solar panel cost in Texas is $2.76/W. Given a solar panel system size of 5 kilowatts (kW), an average solar installation in Texas ranges in cost from $11,730 to $15,870, with the average gross price for solar in Texas coming in at $13,800.Is it worth going solar in Texas? ›
In the United States, there are few states better than Texas for sun intensity. The state as a whole receives an average of 204 sunny days, which is right around the national average and is usually plenty to make solar panels worth the investment.
The fourth stage of the government's Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which aims to support low-income households who are unable to upgrade their homes and heating systems. A government initiative that allows homeowners to pay 0% VAT on energy-saving materials like solar panels.What is the biggest problem with solar panels? ›
One of the biggest problems that solar energy technology poses is that energy is only generated while the sun is shining. That means nighttime and overcast days can interrupt the supply.Do solar panel companies own your roof? ›
Solar Panels – Ownership and Maintenance
Where solar panels have been installed by a solar panel provider, the provider will usually own and maintain them under the roof top lease. The lease should set out clearly the responsibilities for maintenance and removal of the panels where works are required to the roof.
- High initial cost.
- Intermittent energy source.
- Uses a lot of space.
- Small amount of pollution during manufacture, transport and installation.
- Not ideal if you plan on moving house.
- Location of solar cells.
Solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032.Is solar worth it if Im not home during the day? ›
To make the most of your solar system when you're not home, use as much of your electricity as possible during the day. For example: In the laundry, use the delay start option to run your dishwasher and washing machine around midday (peak sun hours)Do solar panels work better the hotter it is? ›
Although solar panels use sunlight to produce energy, they do not require heat in any way. In fact, solar panels may run about 10 to 25 percent less efficient on warm, dry days reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The hotter the ambient air becomes, the less efficient your solar panels will be.What are the most efficient solar panels 2022? ›
Panels built using advanced 'Interdigitated back contact' or IBC cells are the most efficient, followed by heterojunction (HJT) cells, TOPcon cells, half-cut and multi-busbar monocrystalline PERC cells, shingled cells and finally 60-cell (4-5 busbar) mono cells.How much does a solar system cost in 2022? ›
Up-front, the average residential solar panel installation costs between $18,000 and $20,000 in 2022, but once you apply your federal solar tax credit that cost will plummet to somewhere between $13,320 and $14,800.How much does a full solar panel cost? ›
According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, the average cost for solar panels is $3–$5 per watt, totaling $15,000–$20,000 for a typical 5 kilowatt (kW) system. Learn which factors impact cost before reaching out to solar companies near you, plus get information about cost-saving tax credits and incentives.
You won't notice any difference in your electricity supply. You can use your solar panels alongside a normal energy tariff, and there's no need to tell your energy company. You'll just use less electricity from the Grid, and therefore pay lower bills.Is solar getting cheaper or more expensive? ›
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), residential solar panel systems have dropped in price by an annual average of more than 60% over the past decade — from upwards of $50,000 for a 6-kilowatt-hour (KWh) system in 2011 to between $16,000 and $21,000 in 2022.Are solar panels cheaper in the long run? ›
Just how much money you can save varies for every property, but with the cost of solar panels continuing to come down, you'll be saving money in the long run.Is it harder to sell a house with solar panels? ›
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell 20% faster and for 17% more than those without.What happens after 20 years of solar panels? ›
The median solar panel degradation rate is about 0.5%, which simply means that a solar panel's energy production will decrease at a rate of 0.5% per year. After 20 years, your panels should still be working at about 90% of its original output.Do solar panels affect neighbors property values? ›
So while it may not affect the appraised value of your property or your neighbor's, it may limit the pool of buyers for yourself and your neighbor in case one of you wants to sell in the future. Homes with Solar Panels generally have their value increased. This would cause comps to increase as well.Why are people not buying solar panels? ›
High upfront costs for your solar energy system. This is usually because solar equipment and/or installation costs are expensive where you live. Space restrictions mean that you can't install a solar panel system large enough to deliver adequate electric bill savings.Will solar be cheaper in the future? ›
That said, the cost of solar will continue to trend downward – just at a less rapid pace; Bloomberg has predicted that the cost of solar will decrease by about 34% by 2030, which is still a sizable decrease!What will replace solar panels? ›
Caption: Perovskites are widely seen as the likely platform for next-generation solar cells, replacing silicon because of its easier manufacturing process, lower cost, and greater flexibility.Is selling solar worth it? ›
Sales roles in the solar industry are often advertised with salaries at more than $100,000 per year, and it is quite feasible to get to this kind of salary, even in a remote setting. It's very rewarding.
If you want to keep the power on when the grid is down, you'll usually just need one solar battery. If you want to go off-grid completely, you'll need far more storage capacity, more along the lines of 8-12 batteries.Can you sell electricity back to the grid in Texas? ›
Many solar retail electric providers (REP) in Texas offer their customers buyback plans that do just this. If you have an interconnection with the Texas grid, your excess electricity is exported into the power grid for other people to use. Your solar electricity becomes community solar energy.How long does it take to make money back from solar? ›
The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years. This is a pretty wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years it can take to pay off your panels and the monthly savings you can expect.Does Texas offer Netmetering? ›
Net metering policies are enacted at the state level. Thirty-eight states require utilities to offer net-metering. Texas is not one of them. However, Texas solar owners have other options to get value from their surplus generation.How long does it take to pay back a solar system? ›
Solar PV system payback period: 4-5 years
In NSW, the falling price of solar, rising electricity rates and competitive feed-in tariffs mean your payback period could be as little as 4 or 5 years.
Your Home Is Using Too Much Power
If your solar panels are not reducing your bill, it can be because: Your system is generating less electricity than you use. You're using too much electricity at night when panels aren't generating it. Too many appliances or devices are plugged in.
First off, you can still switch gas and electricity suppliers when you have solar panels or generate your own renewable energy in another way — but you must switch to an eligible supplier. When it comes to your Feed-In tariff, it's Ofgem that sets the rates for the schemes.Do you get your investment back on solar panels? ›
Solar PV systems installed in 2020 and 2021 are eligible for a 26% tax credit. In August 2022, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, raising it to 30% for the installation of which was between 2022-2032. (Systems installed on or before December 31, 2019 were also eligible for a 30% tax credit.)Can you still sell solar energy back to the grid? ›
Selling solar power back to the grid is possible through the SEG. In this article, you will find out how to sell your excess energy and how much you can make.Can Texas buy energy from other states? ›
Energy produced in one state can be used in another, and power companies can buy energy from out of state. The rest of the continental U.S. is divided between two main electric grids. Texas cannot access power from other states.
If you generate renewable electricity in your home or business, you can feed back into the grid any electricity that you don't use. Under the Smart Export Guarantee ( SEG ) you will be paid for every unit of electricity that you feed back.How long until solar pays for itself? ›
The most common estimate of the average payback period for solar panels is six to ten years. This is a pretty wide range because there are many factors that will influence the number of years it can take to pay off your panels and the monthly savings you can expect.How does solar energy buy back work? ›
With a solar buyback, you can be compensated for that excess energy. In Texas, energy companies—like us—buy the excess energy produced by solar panels. That value is given to customers in the form of bill credits, and they're applied directly to their electric bills.What is the cheapest energy in Texas? ›
|Plan Name||Plan Length||Rate|
|Payless Power - Premier 12 - No Deposit & No Credit Check||12 months||21.0¢ / kWh|
|TXU Energy - Clear Deal 12||12 months||17.9¢ / kWh|
|TXU Energy - Clear Deal 24||24 months||18.9¢ / kWh|
|TXU Energy - Flex Forward||1 months||22.5¢ / kWh|
The cost of electricity in Texas is tightly tied to the price of natural gas, which has more than doubled since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.How much money do you get back from having solar power? ›
In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of the ITC, which provides a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed in 2023. 4 The tax credit expires starting in 2024 unless Congress renews it.What is the current FIT rate? ›
Relevant tariffs have been adjusted by RPI of 7.5 percent, effective from 1 April 2022.How do I get paid for my solar power? ›
- Install eligible technology such as solar panels in your home.
- Use the electricity that is generated by your system, and sell back the excess energy to the grid via your energy supplier.
- Your supplier arranges the payments based on the rate arranged at the time of installation and your method.