Texas Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:
- The process for installing solar equipment and maximizing energy production in TX
- How much solar electricity you can expect your panels to produce in TX
- The incentives available in TX and how they help
How to Get Solar Panels in Texas
To begin the solar conversion process, you’ll need to reach out to a local solar installation company to get a free quote — more on how to choose a provider later. A technician will then inspect your home, review your energy consumption for the past year, take measurements of your roof and design a system to meet your needs.
Your installer will also pull permits for the system and then carry out the installation. If you need assistance with financing, the rep will also help secure a solar loan, solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA). Finally, the system will be commissioned, and you’ll be producing your own energy.
Going solar in TX is usually a great investment, in part because the state receives plenty of sunshine — much more than the national average — and because the solar incentives available help reduce up-front installation costs. Most solar customers in TX save an average of over $21,000 going solar, and that’s after the panels pay themselves off.
Blue Raven Solar
What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in Texas?
Photovoltaic equipment is usually priced per watt, with the average per-watt cost in TX running around $2.69. This is just a touch above the national average of $2.66. Energy needs are high in the Lone Star State, so with the typical system size of 11.5 kW (kilowatts), the average cost of a system is $21,655 after the federal investment tax credit (ITC).
Since the typical cost to go solar in TX is above average, most homeowners take a little longer than those in other states to see a return on their solar investment. The average solar system payback period is 13 years, while the national average is 12 years.
For more information on pricing out your solar energy system in the area, you can check out our Texas solar system cost guide.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Texas
Texas ranks second in the U.S. for solar conversions, so the local solar industry is booming. 1 As a result, property owners in the Lone Star State have tons of options when it comes to solar equipment brands.
Since Texas gets abundant and intense sunlight, most property owners don’t need to splurge for the highest-efficiency panels available. However, since the weather in Texas can be erratic and extreme at times, choosing a high-quality panel brand with a long-lasting warranty is usually advisable.
Below, we’ll provide a brief list of some of the more popular and suitable solar equipment brands available in TX.
- LG (this company will soon be pulling out of the solar industry)
- Canadian Solar
- Trina Solar
- Mission Solar
Is Texas a Good State for Solar Panels?
Texas is one of the best states in the country to go solar, which is a major reason it’s ranked second for the number of installations. There are a few key reasons why installing photovoltaic (PV) equipment is so beneficial in the area. These include:
- Intense sunlight: TX is situated close to the equator compared to other states which means the sun is more intense. Solar equipment relies on available sunlight and sun intensity to produce energy, so the production levels will often be higher in Texas than in other states.
- Abundant sun: Not only is the sunlight intense in TX, but it’s also plentiful. TX residents experience around 234 days of sunshine each year, which is well above the national average of 205. 2 More sun means more energy generation, which, in turn, means your panels will pay for themselves more quickly.
- Above-average energy consumption: Everything is bigger in TX, including energy bills. Texans have some of the highest electricity bills in the country and the sixth-highest rate of electricity consumption. 3 When electric bills or usage are high, solar modules have more opportunity to lead to energy savings, making them more valuable.
- Frequent power outages: Texas often ranks as one of the top five states for power outages. 4 This is in part due to the intense weather and frequent heat waves that demand heavy air conditioner usage, which puts excess strain on the electrical grid. Many solar customers opt to couple their panels with solar battery storage to achieve energy independence and provide power through blackouts. Energy storage solutions will, of course, add to your installation costs.
- Available incentives: Finally, Texas has some incentives available for solar conversion that make the process more appealing and more affordable. We’ll discuss these benefits in greater depth later.
How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Texas?
Solar panel energy generation depends on many different factors, so it’s difficult to provide an accurate estimate for production on your home without doing a site inspection. These factors include:
- The intensity of the sun on your roof: As mentioned above, more intense sunlight on your panels means a greater level of energy production. Homes in North America with south-facing roofs can direct the rooftop solar panels toward the path of the sun in the sky. This provides more intense sunlight, which leads to more electricity generation.
- The abundance of sun on your roof: Similarly, if anything obstructs the sunlight hitting your panels at any time of the day, you’ll lose out on some energy generation. Trees, nearby buildings and even nearby electrical poles and lines can cast shadows on your panels. Shading will always reduce energy efficiency a bit.
- The efficiency of the panels you install: The equipment you install will also play a role in how much energy your system produces. Solar panel brands all come with different levels of efficiency and will generate different amounts of electricity based on that. This is such an important factor that homeowners who install high-efficiency panels — like Maxeon panels from SunPower — sometimes need fewer panels installed to cover electricity consumption.
- The size of your system: The number of panels you have installed will directly affect how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) your system produces each day. Installing more panels always means more electricity, although larger systems aren’t always cost-effective.
- The weather: Finally, the weather plays an important role in energy production because your efficiency will plummet on rainy or cloudy days. You can lose up to 90% of your energy generation during cloudy weather.
Although there are a bunch of factors that affect your energy generation, it is possible to estimate your production based on average sun intensity and the number of sunny days in the area. The chart below provides a rough estimate based on the size of your system.
|Solar Power System Size||Expected Daily Energy Generation||Expected Monthly Energy Generation||Expected Annual Energy Generation|
|9 kW||30 kWh||900 kWh||10,800 kWh|
|10 kW||33.3 kWh||1,000 kWh||12,000 kWh|
|11 kW||36.6 kWh||1,100 kWh||13,200 kWh|
|12 kW||40 kWh||1,200 kWh||14,400 kWh|
|13 kW||43.3 kWh||1,300 kWh||15,600 kWh|
|14 kW||46.6 kWh||1,400 kWh||16,800 kWh|
|15 kW||50 kWh||1,500 kWh||18,000 kWh|
For a more personalized calculation, you can use our solar estimates tool to see how much energy your panels will generate on a daily and annual basis.
Solar Panel Policy History in Texas
As mentioned above, TX ranks second in the country in terms of new solar installations. In most other high-ranking states, solar conversion is incentivized at the state level.
However, there are only a handful of state incentives available to TX residents, and many of the benefits that push solar conversion come from individual utility companies.
The Lone Star State didn’t begin passing pro-solar legislation until 1981, when it initiated the state property tax exemption. Although solar equipment will increase your property value, this exemption prevents that bump in value from causing your taxes to increase.5 This is a pretty big deal, as the increase can be substantial.
A year later, TX also passed solar rights laws, which ensure that all homeowners have equal access to panel installation and available sunlight. These laws prevent strict homeowners associations (HOAs) and other municipalities from preventing residents from installing and enjoying the benefits of solar.
More than a decade later, TX finally set its first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal. It was a modest one that called for 3% of the state’s energy production to come from clean energy sources by 2015. This was easily achievable using a combination of clean energy sources, including wind energy.
However, the RPS also called for 10,000 megawatts of solar equipment to be installed by 2025. The state has since hit these renewable energy goals with residential solar and community solar installations, but it hasn’t improved the RPS targets.
Interestingly, the most appealing solar perks were initiated in the early 2000s by individual utility companies. These included several cash-back programs:
- A $2,500 rebate from Austin Energy for installing panels
- A $1.20 per watt installed rebate from CPS Energy
- A $0.54 per watt installed rebate from Oncor
These programs helped pave the way for the solar industry in TX, especially since the state never implemented net metering.
Some electric companies do offer tariffs for solar energy production, which is similar to net metering but often not as beneficial. Most companies that do this offer an avoided-cost rate for excess energy.
Green Mountain Energy — with offices in Dallas and Houston — currently has one of the best tariffs, which is close to the retail rate.
What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in Texas?
Texans have access to a handful of solar tax incentives and other benefits, which help make panels more affordable and conversion more alluring. The benefits currently available include:
- Net billing: Net billing is similar to net metering, although it’s not as beneficial. It allows you to overproduce energy and “bank” the excess to use to reduce your future energy bills. Eligibility depends on your electric company. Austin Energy, Oncor and CPS Energy all offer net billing for customers with solar systems installed.
- Solar rebate programs: There is no statewide tax credit, but several electric companies offer rebates for solar installations. We’ve mentioned specifics above from companies like Austin Energy, CPS Energy and Oncor. You should check with your provider to see if rebates are available.
- Federal tax credit: The federal solar tax credit (ITC) is a credit to your income taxes owed in the amount of 30% of your total solar panel system cost. In TX, the typical ITC amount is over $9,000, making it one of the best perks available.
For more information on these benefits and other available perks and which ones apply to you, you can check out our guide to Texas solar incentives and savings opportunities.
Find a Local Installer in Texas
According to data available from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there are over 200 solar companies that serve TX residents.6 With so many choices, choosing a reputable installer that will meet your needs can be a real challenge.
It’s important to do your research and choose a company that provides good customer service, appropriate warranty coverage and high-quality equipment. We’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting for you and can comfortably recommend installers based on your location:
If you live outside of these cities or are just looking for more general recommendations, you can check out our guide to the top solar installers in TX.