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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Extinction Rebellion protesters block the roads outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

After six months of deliberation, an international panel of 12 legal experts has drafted an official definition of ecocide.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An aerial view of a fire burning next to the Transpantaneira, a road that crosses the Pantanal on Sept. 25, 2020 in Pocone, Brazil. The main cause of induced fires in the region is livestock activity to transform the region into pastures. Photo by Buda Mendes / Getty Images

By Giuliana Viglione

Current estimates of land-use change may be capturing only one-quarter of its true extent across the world, new research shows.

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CHBD / iStock / Getty Images

The sprawling size and sunny days of Texas make it one of the top states for solar energy. If you live in the Lone Star State and are interested in switching to a solar energy system, you may be wondering: What's the average solar panel cost in Texas?

In this article, we'll discuss the cost of solar panels in Texas, what factors affect pricing, Texas' solar incentives and more. Of course, the only way to know for sure how much you would pay to install a solar panel system on your roof is to receive a free, no-obligation quote from a top solar company near you. You can get started by filling out the quick form below.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Texas?

Thanks to the growing investment in renewable energy technology statewide, homeowners now enjoy a below-average cost of solar in Texas. Based on market research and data from top brands, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Texas to be $2.69 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $9,953 after the federal solar tax credit. This is especially valuable when you take into account the unpredictable Texas energy rates.

Here's how that average calculates into the cost of the most common sizes of home solar panel systems:

Size of Solar Panel SystemTexas Solar Panel CostCost After Federal Tax Credit
5kW$13,450$9,953
6kW$16,140$11,944
7kW$18,830$13,934
8kW$21,520$15,925
9kW$24,210$17,915
10kW$26,900$19,906

Though this data reflects the statewide averages, you'll need to contact a solar installer near you to get an accurate quote for your home. Savvy customers will get free quotes from multiple companies and compare them to the state averages to make sure they receive the best value possible. Bear in mind that the biggest providers of solar won't always have the best prices.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Texas?

The main factor determining the cost of solar panel installations in Texas is the homeowner's energy needs. No two homes are the same, and installation costs will look far different for a home needing a basic 5kW system and a home needing 10kW with backup power capabilities. The solar financing and installation company a homeowner chooses will also affect a customer's overall solar costs in Texas. Here's how each factor comes into play:

Solar Equipment

Similar to phones, cars and other technology, solar products and system costs vary greatly based on their quality, scale and included features. Some customers may be satisfied with a modest array of affordable solar panels and inverters, while others may opt for a system with premium panels, full-home backup power and cutting-edge energy monitoring technology.

Solar Financing

The overall cost of solar depends significantly on how a customer chooses to finance their system. The three most common solar financing options include paying in cash, taking out a solar loan and solar leasing.

  • The most economical way to purchase solar, an upfront cash purchase provides the best long-term return on investment and the lowest overall cost.
  • Customers can choose to take out a solar loan to purchase the system outright and make monthly payments to repay the loan. The typical payback period for a solar loan averages around 10 years. Systems purchased with a loan are still eligible for the federal solar tax credit.
  • Signing a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) allows a solar customer to rent solar panels from a company or third party. Though requiring the least amount of money upfront, solar leases provide the least amount of overall value. Also, solar leases aren't eligible for the federal tax credit, as the homeowner doesn't actually own the system.

Solar Installation Company

Texas has seen some of the strongest solar energy market growth over the last few years, and the SEIA reports that there are now nearly 600 solar companies based in Texas, and each is looking to expand its market share.

Price ranges can differ significantly based on the installer. Larger solar providers like Sunrun offer the advantage of solar leases and quick installations. Local providers, on the other hand, provide more personalization and competitive prices to undercut the biggest national companies.

Because of this, it's wise to get quotes from a few local and national installers and compare rates — because of the stiff competition between companies, you could end up saving several thousand dollars.

Texas Solar Incentives

For the most part, Texas taxes are administered by local governments. As a result, the state doesn't offer a large number of statewide solar-related policies, and incentives will depend more on the locality in which you live.

However, all homeowners in the state remain eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and there are some statewide local property tax exemptions for both photovoltaic solar and wind-powered renewable energy systems. Let's walk through how to find what incentives are available to you.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

All Texans can claim the federal solar investment tax credit, or ITC, for PV solar panels and energy storage systems. By claiming the ITC on your tax returns, the policy allows you to deduct 26% of the total cost of the solar system from the taxes you owe the federal government.

The tax credit is available to both residential and commercial system owners who have installed solar panels at any point since 2006. The credit is worth 26% through the end of 2022 and will drop to 22% in 2023. It is set to expire at the end of 2023 unless congress extends it.

Net Metering Policies in Texas

Net metering programs allow customers to sell unused solar energy back to their local utility company in exchange for credits that can be cashed in when panels aren't producing energy. Due to the energy bill savings, this incentive can greatly reduce the solar investment payback period.

As is true with most of Texas' solar rebates and incentives, there is not one net metering program that is offered throughout the entire state. Rather, your eligibility will depend on the policy of your local utility company or municipality. Most utilities in the state have a net metering policy, including American Electric Power (AEP), CPS Energy, Green Mountain Energy, El Paso Electric, TXU Energy in Dallas and more.

The rate at which your local utility will compensate for this excess energy will depend on your local policy, so we encourage you to look into the policy offered by your utility company.

Local Solar Rebates in Texas

In addition to identifying your local net metering program, look into any local rebates available to you. Homeowners who live in the top cities for solar in Texas, like Austin, San Marcos or Sunset Valley might have more luck than customers in other areas. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency has a full list of local rebates, solar loan programs and more.

FAQ: Solar Panel Cost Texas

Is it worth going solar in Texas?

Long, sunny days and below-average solar installation costs make Texas one of the best states in the U.S. for generating energy with solar panels. The ample sunshine provides more than enough energy for most families, serving up huge benefits to homes in Texas equipped with solar panels.

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Texas?

As of 2021, the average cost of solar panels in Texas is $2.69 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $9,953 after the federal solar tax credit. This is slightly below the national average due to the resource availability in Texas, current energy costs and the state's available sunlight. The best way to assess how much solar would cost you is to consult local providers near you for a free estimate.

Do solar panels increase home value in Texas?

Solar panels increase home value everywhere, but mostly in areas with generous net metering policies and solar rebates. As such, the proportion at which solar panels increase home value in Texas corresponds with the areas with the most solar-friendly policies.

How much do solar panels cost for a 2,500 sq foot house?

Though knowing the size of a house is helpful in determining how many solar panels could fit on its roof, the energy use of the house is the more important factor in determining solar panel cost in Texas. The higher your energy use, the greater your solar needs will be.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

Choosing the Best Carbon Offset Programs of 2021
Hiroshi Watanabe / Getty Images

Carbon offset programs provide a real opportunity to be part of the climate change solution. In 2021, there are a number of impactful carbon offset programs to choose from. The question is, which one allows you to make the biggest difference? Our review will provide an overview of carbon offset programs and recommend the best ones to help reduce and counterbalance your greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Picks for the Best Carbon Offset Programs

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

What is a Carbon Offset Program?

What is a carbon offset program?

Every day, you engage in activities that leave behind an environmental footprint. You add to the world's carbon dioxide pollution every time you drive your car, purchase goods from a major manufacturer, and so forth.

When you purchase a membership in a carbon offset program, also offered as carbon credits, you invest in clean energy and carbon reduction efforts elsewhere in the world. The goal is basically for this environmental activity to offset your own carbon footprint. The ultimate objective is to become as close to carbon neutral as possible.

Both individuals and corporations can invest in carbon offset programs. While there are a number of options to choose from, many of them involve investment in eco-friendly initiatives in developing countries. Others help to offset the travel, shipping, or production that are part of other industries. The idea is to create an infrastructure that will allow these companies to work towards sustainability and emissions reductions well into the future, while effectively canceling out their carbon emissions in the meantime.

Historically, carbon offset programs have been fairly simple. For example, in some programs, your investment essentially goes to planting trees in reforestation efforts. More advanced carbon offset programs, however, allow you to help fund the development of important sustainability technologies, like efficient cookstoves in developing countries or methane capture at landfills.

How We Chose the Best Programs

Wind turbines carbon offset programs Mischa Keijser / Getty Images

There are concerns among some activists that carbon offset programs allow certain countries or industries to pay to appear eco-friendly while avoiding actual efforts to reduce the amount of of carbon they produce. When used properly, however, carbon offsets can be a legitimate tool to help encourage sustainable development and reduce the use of fossil fuels.

We vetted a number of climate offset programs to find options making the biggest impact in our world. A number of factors have gone into our choices.

First, we looked for carbon offset programs that came with the endorsement of prestigious environmental stewardship groups. These organizations thoroughly vet all carbon offset projects for transparency, impact, and additionality. The carbon offset programs on our list are endorsed by prominent third-party organizations, including:

Additionally, we have been intentional about choosing programs that represent many different types of projects. And, we have considered factors such as the presence of easy-to-use online calculators; the convenience of making a transaction; and the total number of options that each carbon offset program presents.

The 8 Best Carbon Offset Programs

Shopify

While Shopify is not a carbon offset program, they do provide a platform to help more merchants and buyers offset the carbon emissions of their e-commerce deliveries. For merchants and businesses, they developed an app called Offset that allows them to opt in and offset all of their deliveries. For customers, there is the Shop app, and for every order purchased using Shop Pay, Shopify will offset all of the emissions from the delivery. All Shopify carbon offsets are purchased from Pachama, a company that seeks to use technology and A.I. to help drive carbon capture and protect global forests. Shopify notes that "offsets are not a perfect solution—but they're a necessary tool." We appreciate that they are making it easier for more and more people to use this necessary tool to reduce carbon emissions with every purchase.

You can visit the Shopify site to learn more about their carbon offsets strategy.

NativeEnergy

NativeEnergy does a lot of pioneering work to reduce carbon emissions, promote biodiversity in ecosystems, and invest in regenerative agriculture across the world. We like them because they make it easy to get involved, either as an individual or as a corporation, via an intuitive online carbon calculator and a range of investment options. We'll also note that they have been around for more than 20 years, and in that time have taken on some high-level corporate partners, including Ben & Jerry's.

Learn more about NativeEnergy by checking out their website.

Sustainable Travel International

This organization made our list because their underlying premise makes so much sense: One of the best ways to support sustainability developments in ecologically vulnerable areas is to invest in their travel and tourism industries in local communities. Sustainable Travel International works with premier destinations, helping them develop their tourist trades while also enacting important environmental protections.

At their website, you can find a ton of information about the work Sustainable Travel International has done to minimize pollution and reduce carbon emissions. And of course, you can purchase carbon offsets to help subsidize their work.

myclimate

There's a lot to appreciate about myclimate, but above all, we love this organization because of how easy they make it to purchase carbon offsets. When you go to their website, you will immediately see their carbon offset calculator, which will allow you to input information about recent travel (including flights and cruises), household activities, and more. Using this data, myclimate will provide you with an estimate of your total carbon footprint and show you some ways to invest in meaningful offsets.

If you truly want to offset your day-to-day carbon footprint in a calculated and precise way, head to myclimate and get going.

TerraPass

TerraPass is one of the leading names in carbon offsets, and it's not hard to see why. When you visit their website, you will find ways to get involved as an individual, as a small or mid-sized business, and even as a large enterprise. Not only do they provide a great carbon calculator, but they also have a lot of valuable information about embracing sustainability, both within your household and your business. Your investment with TerraPass can help fund energy efficiency through wind power, sustainable farming, and a range of other environmental projects.

You can explore some of the options by checking out the TerraPass website.

Clear

Clear is extremely well-regarded. Since 2005, this organization has developed a reputation for only supporting the highest quality projects, including sustainability measures that attain such standards as Certified Emission Reduction (CER) certification and Gold Standard VERs. This is actually the only organization where you can be sure that all carbon offsets are certified by the Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting. Additional reasons to choose Clear include ultra-precise carbon offset calculators, fair and affordable pricing, and a range of opportunities for both individuals and businesses.

You can visit the Clear website to learn more about purchasing carbon offsets from them.

atmosfair

atmosfair is a non-profit organization based in Germany. The organization's stated goals are to offset carbon emissions, promote sustainable travel, and ultimately play a role in long-term energy transitions across the planet. They currently have projects in more than a dozen countries, and they rely entirely on carbon offsets purchased by individuals and by companies.

Their big emphasis is on offsetting the environmental impact of air travel, so if that's something that you're passionate about, we'd recommend taking a look at the atmosfair website.

3Degrees

Finally, we're really enthusiastic about all the good work being done by 3Degrees. This organization works with corporations across the world, helping them implement renewable energy sources, decarbonize their transportation, and more. Of course, they also have some options for you to support their work by purchasing carbon offsets. You can find out a lot more about what they do by visiting their website; they have a lot of detailed information about their different projects, including case studies.

Visit the 3Degrees site to find out more.

How to Find a Carbon Offset Program

Trees in a forest carbon offset Nick Brundle Photography / Getty Images

Clearly, there are plenty of ways to support green initiatives, and to counterbalance some of your own carbon emissions. As you seek to find the best carbon offset program for you, the primary factor to keep in mind is transparency. You want to make sure that the dollars you're donating actually go to high-quality projects that make a real-world difference in the amount of carbon produced each year.

That's one of the main reasons why we emphasize the importance of third-party verification. We mentioned a number of independent organizations above that do a lot of important work auditing and accrediting carbon offset programs. Their validation can give you confidence in selecting a carbon offset project to support.

The Benefits and Limits of Carbon Offset Programs

Before investing, it's worth pausing to consider just how much good a carbon offset program can do, and where these projects sometimes come up short.

To start with, here are some benefits to carbon offsetting:

  • Carbon offset projects allow you to neutralize any negative impact you make on the environment, specifically in terms of the metric tons of carbon emissions, or CO2e, that contribute to global warming.
  • Investments in developing nations can also help provide wages and other benefits to those who need them, while also preventing deforestation and supporting critical forestry projects.
  • By backing carbon offset projects, you can incentivize companies to spend more money on sustainability and clean energy measures.
  • Carbon offsets also help expedite the development of eco-friendly technology.

As for the potential limitations of carbon offset projects, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The effectiveness of carbon offsetting can fluctuate from one industry to the next.
  • Sometimes, carbon offsetting can make it easy to excuse large or irresponsible carbon emissions.
  • Without due diligence, it's all too easy to inadvertently back an unscrupulous or non-transparent carbon offset project.

Choose the Right Carbon Offset Program for You

The bottom line is that carbon offsetting, while imperfect, can nevertheless make a positive impact, especially if you choose your carbon offset program wisely. Purchasing carbon offsets shouldn't take the place of reducing your own carbon footprint, but they can make an impact.

Start your research with some of the options here and remember to augment your carbon offsets with other lifestyle changes at work or at home.

Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.

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On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its sixth assessment of the climate crisis. Years in the making, the report once again warned the world of our dire circumstances. Within the nearly 4000 page breakdown of the physical science driving climate chaos lies a particularly disturbing section. One that illuminates just what's at stake if we continue on the path of unhindered extraction and emissions. This is the story of tipping points: what they are, when they will happen, and what actions we can take now to stop drastic domino effects in the future.

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Palm fruits stored on the road in Tomé-Açu municipality, northern Amazon's Pará state, on Nov. 12, 2019. Karla Mendes / Mongabay

During 18 months, Mongabay investigated allegations challenging the "sustainable" status of the Brazilian palm oil supply chain, revealing impacts including deforestation and water contamination, and what appears to be an industry-wide pattern of brazen disregard for Amazon conservation and for the rights of Indigenous people and traditional communities in northern Pará state.

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Deforestation in the Tibú municipality. Colombian Army Vulcano Task Force

By René Mora, Translated by Romina Castagnino

  • Catatumbo Barí National Natural Park protects the unique, remote rainforest in northeastern Colombia.
  • Satellite data show the park lost 6.2% of its tree cover between 2001 and 2019, with several months of unusually high deforestation in 2020.
  • Sources say illegal coca cultivation is rapidly expanding in and around Catatumbo Barí and is driving deforestation as farmers move in and clear forest to grow the illicit crop, which is used to make cocaine.
  • Area residents say armed groups are controlling the trade of coca in and out of the region, and are largely operating in an atmosphere of impunity.

The Catatumbo River originates in northeastern Colombia's Norte de Santander Department and flows to Venezuelan Lake Maracaibo. For generations, it has provided passage for fishermen and small farmers; but increasingly, it is being used to transport illegal good like weapons, timber and coca crops, from which cocaine is produced.

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Coffee has enormous cultural significance. It's a staple of culture, cuisine, and everyday life for people all over the planet. Americans alone consume 400 million cups of coffee per day, and the crop is a highly traded commodity of huge importance to global economies.

These millions of cups aren't without consequence, however. The growing, processing, and transportation of coffee – everything that happens before it's poured into our mugs – have large-scale environmental and social repercussions.

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A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

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Google Earth's latest feature allows you to watch the climate change in four dimensions.

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A calf of the Holstein-Friesian breed on a dairy farm in Germany. Sebastian Willnow / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

Global food production accounts for more than a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, with meat and dairy responsible for twice as much planet-heating carbon pollution as plant-based foods, according to the results of a major study published Monday.

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Altamira, state of Para, north of Brazil on Sept. 1, 2019. Amazon rainforest destruction surged between August 2019 and July 2020, Brazil's space agency reported. Gustavo Basso / NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to Brazil's space agency (Inpe), deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has surged to its highest level since 2008, the BBC reported.

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People search through the rubble of what used to be the Manguier Hotel after an earthquake hit on Aug. 14, 2021 in Les Cayes, southwest Haiti. STANLEY LOUIS / AFP via Getty Images

Tropical depression Grace is expected to pass over Haiti on Monday and Tuesday, just days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake left nearly 1,300 dead and 5,700 injured, threatening to cause flooding and landslides and further hampering rescue efforts already contending with devastated infrastructure and the COVID-19 pandemic.

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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Extinction Rebellion protesters block the roads outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

After six months of deliberation, an international panel of 12 legal experts has drafted an official definition of ecocide.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
An aerial view of a fire burning next to the Transpantaneira, a road that crosses the Pantanal on Sept. 25, 2020 in Pocone, Brazil. The main cause of induced fires in the region is livestock activity to transform the region into pastures. Photo by Buda Mendes / Getty Images

By Giuliana Viglione

Current estimates of land-use change may be capturing only one-quarter of its true extent across the world, new research shows.

Read More Show Less
CHBD / iStock / Getty Images

The sprawling size and sunny days of Texas make it one of the top states for solar energy. If you live in the Lone Star State and are interested in switching to a solar energy system, you may be wondering: What's the average solar panel cost in Texas?

In this article, we'll discuss the cost of solar panels in Texas, what factors affect pricing, Texas' solar incentives and more. Of course, the only way to know for sure how much you would pay to install a solar panel system on your roof is to receive a free, no-obligation quote from a top solar company near you. You can get started by filling out the quick form below.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Texas?

Thanks to the growing investment in renewable energy technology statewide, homeowners now enjoy a below-average cost of solar in Texas. Based on market research and data from top brands, we've found the average cost of solar panels in Texas to be $2.69 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $9,953 after the federal solar tax credit. This is especially valuable when you take into account the unpredictable Texas energy rates.

Here's how that average calculates into the cost of the most common sizes of home solar panel systems:

Size of Solar Panel SystemTexas Solar Panel CostCost After Federal Tax Credit
5kW$13,450$9,953
6kW$16,140$11,944
7kW$18,830$13,934
8kW$21,520$15,925
9kW$24,210$17,915
10kW$26,900$19,906

Though this data reflects the statewide averages, you'll need to contact a solar installer near you to get an accurate quote for your home. Savvy customers will get free quotes from multiple companies and compare them to the state averages to make sure they receive the best value possible. Bear in mind that the biggest providers of solar won't always have the best prices.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Texas?

The main factor determining the cost of solar panel installations in Texas is the homeowner's energy needs. No two homes are the same, and installation costs will look far different for a home needing a basic 5kW system and a home needing 10kW with backup power capabilities. The solar financing and installation company a homeowner chooses will also affect a customer's overall solar costs in Texas. Here's how each factor comes into play:

Solar Equipment

Similar to phones, cars and other technology, solar products and system costs vary greatly based on their quality, scale and included features. Some customers may be satisfied with a modest array of affordable solar panels and inverters, while others may opt for a system with premium panels, full-home backup power and cutting-edge energy monitoring technology.

Solar Financing

The overall cost of solar depends significantly on how a customer chooses to finance their system. The three most common solar financing options include paying in cash, taking out a solar loan and solar leasing.

  • The most economical way to purchase solar, an upfront cash purchase provides the best long-term return on investment and the lowest overall cost.
  • Customers can choose to take out a solar loan to purchase the system outright and make monthly payments to repay the loan. The typical payback period for a solar loan averages around 10 years. Systems purchased with a loan are still eligible for the federal solar tax credit.
  • Signing a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) allows a solar customer to rent solar panels from a company or third party. Though requiring the least amount of money upfront, solar leases provide the least amount of overall value. Also, solar leases aren't eligible for the federal tax credit, as the homeowner doesn't actually own the system.

Solar Installation Company

Texas has seen some of the strongest solar energy market growth over the last few years, and the SEIA reports that there are now nearly 600 solar companies based in Texas, and each is looking to expand its market share.

Price ranges can differ significantly based on the installer. Larger solar providers like Sunrun offer the advantage of solar leases and quick installations. Local providers, on the other hand, provide more personalization and competitive prices to undercut the biggest national companies.

Because of this, it's wise to get quotes from a few local and national installers and compare rates — because of the stiff competition between companies, you could end up saving several thousand dollars.

Texas Solar Incentives

For the most part, Texas taxes are administered by local governments. As a result, the state doesn't offer a large number of statewide solar-related policies, and incentives will depend more on the locality in which you live.

However, all homeowners in the state remain eligible for the federal solar tax credit, and there are some statewide local property tax exemptions for both photovoltaic solar and wind-powered renewable energy systems. Let's walk through how to find what incentives are available to you.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

All Texans can claim the federal solar investment tax credit, or ITC, for PV solar panels and energy storage systems. By claiming the ITC on your tax returns, the policy allows you to deduct 26% of the total cost of the solar system from the taxes you owe the federal government.

The tax credit is available to both residential and commercial system owners who have installed solar panels at any point since 2006. The credit is worth 26% through the end of 2022 and will drop to 22% in 2023. It is set to expire at the end of 2023 unless congress extends it.

Net Metering Policies in Texas

Net metering programs allow customers to sell unused solar energy back to their local utility company in exchange for credits that can be cashed in when panels aren't producing energy. Due to the energy bill savings, this incentive can greatly reduce the solar investment payback period.

As is true with most of Texas' solar rebates and incentives, there is not one net metering program that is offered throughout the entire state. Rather, your eligibility will depend on the policy of your local utility company or municipality. Most utilities in the state have a net metering policy, including American Electric Power (AEP), CPS Energy, Green Mountain Energy, El Paso Electric, TXU Energy in Dallas and more.

The rate at which your local utility will compensate for this excess energy will depend on your local policy, so we encourage you to look into the policy offered by your utility company.

Local Solar Rebates in Texas

In addition to identifying your local net metering program, look into any local rebates available to you. Homeowners who live in the top cities for solar in Texas, like Austin, San Marcos or Sunset Valley might have more luck than customers in other areas. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency has a full list of local rebates, solar loan programs and more.

FAQ: Solar Panel Cost Texas

Is it worth going solar in Texas?

Long, sunny days and below-average solar installation costs make Texas one of the best states in the U.S. for generating energy with solar panels. The ample sunshine provides more than enough energy for most families, serving up huge benefits to homes in Texas equipped with solar panels.

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Texas?

As of 2021, the average cost of solar panels in Texas is $2.69 per watt. This means a 5-kW system would cost around $9,953 after the federal solar tax credit. This is slightly below the national average due to the resource availability in Texas, current energy costs and the state's available sunlight. The best way to assess how much solar would cost you is to consult local providers near you for a free estimate.

Do solar panels increase home value in Texas?

Solar panels increase home value everywhere, but mostly in areas with generous net metering policies and solar rebates. As such, the proportion at which solar panels increase home value in Texas corresponds with the areas with the most solar-friendly policies.

How much do solar panels cost for a 2,500 sq foot house?

Though knowing the size of a house is helpful in determining how many solar panels could fit on its roof, the energy use of the house is the more important factor in determining solar panel cost in Texas. The higher your energy use, the greater your solar needs will be.

Karsten Neumeister is a writer and renewable energy specialist with a background in writing and the humanities. Before joining EcoWatch, Karsten worked in the energy sector of New Orleans, focusing on renewable energy policy and technology. A lover of music and the outdoors, Karsten might be found rock climbing, canoeing or writing songs when away from the workplace.

Choosing the Best Carbon Offset Programs of 2021
Hiroshi Watanabe / Getty Images

Carbon offset programs provide a real opportunity to be part of the climate change solution. In 2021, there are a number of impactful carbon offset programs to choose from. The question is, which one allows you to make the biggest difference? Our review will provide an overview of carbon offset programs and recommend the best ones to help reduce and counterbalance your greenhouse gas emissions.

Our Picks for the Best Carbon Offset Programs

Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

What is a Carbon Offset Program?

What is a carbon offset program?

Every day, you engage in activities that leave behind an environmental footprint. You add to the world's carbon dioxide pollution every time you drive your car, purchase goods from a major manufacturer, and so forth.

When you purchase a membership in a carbon offset program, also offered as carbon credits, you invest in clean energy and carbon reduction efforts elsewhere in the world. The goal is basically for this environmental activity to offset your own carbon footprint. The ultimate objective is to become as close to carbon neutral as possible.

Both individuals and corporations can invest in carbon offset programs. While there are a number of options to choose from, many of them involve investment in eco-friendly initiatives in developing countries. Others help to offset the travel, shipping, or production that are part of other industries. The idea is to create an infrastructure that will allow these companies to work towards sustainability and emissions reductions well into the future, while effectively canceling out their carbon emissions in the meantime.

Historically, carbon offset programs have been fairly simple. For example, in some programs, your investment essentially goes to planting trees in reforestation efforts. More advanced carbon offset programs, however, allow you to help fund the development of important sustainability technologies, like efficient cookstoves in developing countries or methane capture at landfills.

How We Chose the Best Programs

Wind turbines carbon offset programs Mischa Keijser / Getty Images

There are concerns among some activists that carbon offset programs allow certain countries or industries to pay to appear eco-friendly while avoiding actual efforts to reduce the amount of of carbon they produce. When used properly, however, carbon offsets can be a legitimate tool to help encourage sustainable development and reduce the use of fossil fuels.

We vetted a number of climate offset programs to find options making the biggest impact in our world. A number of factors have gone into our choices.

First, we looked for carbon offset programs that came with the endorsement of prestigious environmental stewardship groups. These organizations thoroughly vet all carbon offset projects for transparency, impact, and additionality. The carbon offset programs on our list are endorsed by prominent third-party organizations, including:

Additionally, we have been intentional about choosing programs that represent many different types of projects. And, we have considered factors such as the presence of easy-to-use online calculators; the convenience of making a transaction; and the total number of options that each carbon offset program presents.

The 8 Best Carbon Offset Programs

Shopify

While Shopify is not a carbon offset program, they do provide a platform to help more merchants and buyers offset the carbon emissions of their e-commerce deliveries. For merchants and businesses, they developed an app called Offset that allows them to opt in and offset all of their deliveries. For customers, there is the Shop app, and for every order purchased using Shop Pay, Shopify will offset all of the emissions from the delivery. All Shopify carbon offsets are purchased from Pachama, a company that seeks to use technology and A.I. to help drive carbon capture and protect global forests. Shopify notes that "offsets are not a perfect solution—but they're a necessary tool." We appreciate that they are making it easier for more and more people to use this necessary tool to reduce carbon emissions with every purchase.

You can visit the Shopify site to learn more about their carbon offsets strategy.

NativeEnergy

NativeEnergy does a lot of pioneering work to reduce carbon emissions, promote biodiversity in ecosystems, and invest in regenerative agriculture across the world. We like them because they make it easy to get involved, either as an individual or as a corporation, via an intuitive online carbon calculator and a range of investment options. We'll also note that they have been around for more than 20 years, and in that time have taken on some high-level corporate partners, including Ben & Jerry's.

Learn more about NativeEnergy by checking out their website.

Sustainable Travel International

This organization made our list because their underlying premise makes so much sense: One of the best ways to support sustainability developments in ecologically vulnerable areas is to invest in their travel and tourism industries in local communities. Sustainable Travel International works with premier destinations, helping them develop their tourist trades while also enacting important environmental protections.

At their website, you can find a ton of information about the work Sustainable Travel International has done to minimize pollution and reduce carbon emissions. And of course, you can purchase carbon offsets to help subsidize their work.

myclimate

There's a lot to appreciate about myclimate, but above all, we love this organization because of how easy they make it to purchase carbon offsets. When you go to their website, you will immediately see their carbon offset calculator, which will allow you to input information about recent travel (including flights and cruises), household activities, and more. Using this data, myclimate will provide you with an estimate of your total carbon footprint and show you some ways to invest in meaningful offsets.

If you truly want to offset your day-to-day carbon footprint in a calculated and precise way, head to myclimate and get going.

TerraPass

TerraPass is one of the leading names in carbon offsets, and it's not hard to see why. When you visit their website, you will find ways to get involved as an individual, as a small or mid-sized business, and even as a large enterprise. Not only do they provide a great carbon calculator, but they also have a lot of valuable information about embracing sustainability, both within your household and your business. Your investment with TerraPass can help fund energy efficiency through wind power, sustainable farming, and a range of other environmental projects.

You can explore some of the options by checking out the TerraPass website.

Clear

Clear is extremely well-regarded. Since 2005, this organization has developed a reputation for only supporting the highest quality projects, including sustainability measures that attain such standards as Certified Emission Reduction (CER) certification and Gold Standard VERs. This is actually the only organization where you can be sure that all carbon offsets are certified by the Quality Assurance Standard for Carbon Offsetting. Additional reasons to choose Clear include ultra-precise carbon offset calculators, fair and affordable pricing, and a range of opportunities for both individuals and businesses.

You can visit the Clear website to learn more about purchasing carbon offsets from them.

atmosfair

atmosfair is a non-profit organization based in Germany. The organization's stated goals are to offset carbon emissions, promote sustainable travel, and ultimately play a role in long-term energy transitions across the planet. They currently have projects in more than a dozen countries, and they rely entirely on carbon offsets purchased by individuals and by companies.

Their big emphasis is on offsetting the environmental impact of air travel, so if that's something that you're passionate about, we'd recommend taking a look at the atmosfair website.

3Degrees

Finally, we're really enthusiastic about all the good work being done by 3Degrees. This organization works with corporations across the world, helping them implement renewable energy sources, decarbonize their transportation, and more. Of course, they also have some options for you to support their work by purchasing carbon offsets. You can find out a lot more about what they do by visiting their website; they have a lot of detailed information about their different projects, including case studies.

Visit the 3Degrees site to find out more.

How to Find a Carbon Offset Program

Trees in a forest carbon offset Nick Brundle Photography / Getty Images

Clearly, there are plenty of ways to support green initiatives, and to counterbalance some of your own carbon emissions. As you seek to find the best carbon offset program for you, the primary factor to keep in mind is transparency. You want to make sure that the dollars you're donating actually go to high-quality projects that make a real-world difference in the amount of carbon produced each year.

That's one of the main reasons why we emphasize the importance of third-party verification. We mentioned a number of independent organizations above that do a lot of important work auditing and accrediting carbon offset programs. Their validation can give you confidence in selecting a carbon offset project to support.

The Benefits and Limits of Carbon Offset Programs

Before investing, it's worth pausing to consider just how much good a carbon offset program can do, and where these projects sometimes come up short.

To start with, here are some benefits to carbon offsetting:

  • Carbon offset projects allow you to neutralize any negative impact you make on the environment, specifically in terms of the metric tons of carbon emissions, or CO2e, that contribute to global warming.
  • Investments in developing nations can also help provide wages and other benefits to those who need them, while also preventing deforestation and supporting critical forestry projects.
  • By backing carbon offset projects, you can incentivize companies to spend more money on sustainability and clean energy measures.
  • Carbon offsets also help expedite the development of eco-friendly technology.

As for the potential limitations of carbon offset projects, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The effectiveness of carbon offsetting can fluctuate from one industry to the next.
  • Sometimes, carbon offsetting can make it easy to excuse large or irresponsible carbon emissions.
  • Without due diligence, it's all too easy to inadvertently back an unscrupulous or non-transparent carbon offset project.

Choose the Right Carbon Offset Program for You

The bottom line is that carbon offsetting, while imperfect, can nevertheless make a positive impact, especially if you choose your carbon offset program wisely. Purchasing carbon offsets shouldn't take the place of reducing your own carbon footprint, but they can make an impact.

Start your research with some of the options here and remember to augment your carbon offsets with other lifestyle changes at work or at home.

Josh Hurst is a journalist, critic, and essayist. He lives in Knoxville, TN, with his wife and three sons. He covers natural health, nutrition, supplements, and clean energy. His writing has appeared in Health, Shape, and Remedy Review.

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