Texas Solar Power Facts in 2023
Texas homeowners can boast of living in one of the sunniest states in the USA. With up to 3,700 sunny hours or 233 sunny days a year, it is truly a great place to install solar panels. Solar panels in Texas can significantly offset your electric bill, take care of the environment and your wallet, as well as increase your property’s value. Combine it with the newest Tesla and you’ve got yourself nice savings every time you make a trip to the grocery store.
As the power outages of winter of 2020/2021 have shown, even one of the sunniest places on Earth is not resilient enough to withstand temperature extremes. If you go for Texas solar power, you may be able to offset a part of your entire energy bill. Combining a solar panel system with a solar battery will give you energy independence against any weather event.
The solar energy industry is getting bigger in Texas. With many large-scale solar panel systems capable of powering tens of thousands of homes, Texas could easily see itself exporting renewable energy to the rest of the States. Currently the second-largest solar energy producer in the USA, it is the leader in solar panel installation and jobs.
Texas Solar Energy Data
Texas solar energy is a large branch of energy production. Although currently, only 2.27% of total energy production in Texas comes from solar panels, the solar industry in the Lone Star state employs 9,600 Texans and is only set to grow in the upcoming decades. The TX state currently ranks second in the USA by the total solar capacity installed.
To understand better how well Texas ranks in the USA, compare it to the Solar Panels in Nevada and Solar Panels in New Jersey. The Solar Industry of Nevada produces 3,900 MW of power while New Jersey produces 3,650 MW of solar power. Although both states are just slightly to the North from Texas, the state of Texas produces around three times solar energy than the state of Nevada, and New Jersey, which ranks 6th and 7th in the USA respectively.
Texas solar panels can produce enough clean energy to power almost 1.1 million homes in this state. With an average solar installation price for a 5kWh system being as low as $11,500, the time is right to consider installing a solar system on your rooftop. Texas homeowners who install solar can expect to see significant energy bill savings, with at least 75% of their utility bill being reduced. Having a residential solar system also affects the environment.
Texans can boast about 3,700 sunny hours every year. With significant solar power generation from even the smallest solar panel systems, the investment pays off in around 9.3 to 12.6 years. Over 113,000 solar system installations in Texas speak for themselves: the significant investments in renewable sources pay off easily in Texas.
Texas Solar Statistics
|Texas National Ranking||2nd|
|Solar Installed(MW)||9,311.0 MW|
|Can Supply Power to: (No. of Homes)||+1,082,400|
|% of State's Electricity from Solar||2.27%|
|Solar Companies in the State||499 (85 Manufacturers, 205 Installers and Developers and 209 Others)|
|Solar Jobs Created||10,088|
|Total Solar Investment in the State||$11.2 Billion|
|Out of Pocket Cost for a 5kWh system||$11,500-$19,000|
|Net 20-year savings||$14,000-19,000|
|Average Payback Period||9-12.6 years|
|Electricity Bill Offset for a 5kWh system||+75%|
|Number of Solar Installations||113,983|
Notable Solar Installations in Texas
Installing solar panels in Texas is getting easier and there are over 113, 000 solar installations as of today. The majority of these are small-scale rooftop solar systems that can satisfy the needs of a single household. To provide enough energy for their household, an average solar household owner needs around 10kW of solar panel system installed on their rooftop.
However, there are many large-scale solar operations in Texas. Currently, the five largest solar farms in Texas, listed based on their solar capacity, are the following:
- Roadrunner – this solar farm has 497MW of solar panels installed and is enough to power 54,700 households in Texas,
- Upton-2 – with 212.5MW of solar output, it can power 23,375 Texas households,
- Roserock – the 212 MW solar project supplies some 23,000 households with green electricity,
- Buckthorn – 202 MW of solar panels can power 22,000 households in Texas,
- Holstein – 200MW Texas solar power farm can supply 21,800 homeowners and their families with clean electricity.
Texas is expected to install solar panels of 2.5GW in 2020, which means that the solar expansion is just starting. This huge number is all the more staggering when the hardships of COVID-19 are taken into consideration.
What makes Texas the best state for Solar Energy?
There are several factors that position Texas as the best state for solar energy:
Texas is a southern USA state. This means that Texas receives a lot of sunlight that falls down almost vertically. This directly translates to the solar owner’s ability to put the panels more closely together and at a smaller angle. This means that the solar power system in Texas contains more solar panels per square foot and has a higher power output as compared to other locations.
The topography of Texas is very suitable for commercial and residential solar installations. Texas is characterized by plains throughout the state: the Gulf Coastal Plains, the North Central Plains, and the Great Plains in the west-central region. The large, flat expanses mean very little shading throughout the year. The days are long and sun exposure are maximized.
The topography of Texas may prove to be double beneficial. Experiments in Spain in the new field called Photo-Agriculture have shown that some plant species, such as tomatoes, can produce around 30% more biomass when shaded by solar panel systems. Solar panels let some sunlight shine through and this seems to be just enough to both keep the plants growing and keep them cool during the hottest parts of the day. Large-scale experiments are yet to be undertaken.
The climate of Texas is yet another reason why Texas is the best state for solar panel installation. With hot summers and arid winters, Texas is barely ever overcast. The state boasts some 233 sunny days. Furthermore, the southern position of the state means that the days are longer so that this state receives around 3,700 hours of sunlight every year.
However, Texas is not immune to temperature extremes, as could be seen during the power outages 2020/2021 winter. The polar vortex paralyzed the state and left many Texans with no power supply. The natural gas and coal power plants, the pride of this southern state were paralyzed as well and simply could not keep up with the energy demand.
Investing more money in renewables, both in Texas households and on the national level, should provide more resilience against temperature extremes for this state. Even a smaller solar system can provide enough electricity to run the basic appliances on a cloudy day if the electric grid happens to be down.
The Current Solar Capacity
Solar panels Texas and California represent the largest US solar power producers. However, the disparity between the two states is huge, as California has 31, 872 MW of solar panel installations, while Texas ‘only’ have 9,311MW. This shows that there is a lot of room for expansion of solar panels and their production in Texas. The average Texan can see a significant increase in the renewable part of their electricity bill in the upcoming years. Increases in renewable energy installations can also mean lower energy costs in the future, as renewables provide cheaper electricity costs.
Average Cost of Solar Energy Systems
The average cost of solar energy systems in Texas has seen a significant decline over the last few years. In part, this is due to the new types of panels being rolled out to the market which are cheaper and more efficient than ever. The second biggest reason for the drop in solar panel costs is the expansion of solar panel manufacturing facilities: with larger factories come economies of scale which drive down the average cost of rooftop solar panels.
An average household owner in Texas can expect to pay anywhere between $2.31 to $3.13 per Watt of solar power installed on their rooftop. This should mean that a 5kW solar system can cost anywhere between $11,500 to $15,600. An average Texas household may need around a 10kW solar system installed.
Thankfully, many utility companies in Texas now offer net metering. This technology means that you feed electricity into the power grid when your production is higher than your expenditure. It also means that you get to collect energy credits for doing so. During the night and the wintertime, when you spend more electricity than you use, you get the power back from the grid for free.
The Texas net-metering system means significant upfront and yearly energy savings. You get to save a significant amount of money when designing your solar system. With net metering, you should have enough solar power to feed the average power consumption instead of the maximum. On the other hand, the power grid acts as your battery and you avoid having to install any backup power.
Understand that if your goal is to go off the grid completely and avoid fixed utility fees, you may need to install one or more batteries. Solar batteries do not come cheap and may take a very long time to pay off, especially with a solar panel system. Always contact a solar consultant to do the estimation and the project for you before committing to long-term payments.
Solar Panel Energy Production in Texas
Luckily, Texans saw the value of having free energy produced in their state. With a grid that is independent to the rest of the states, TX is especially vulnerable to large-scale demand and supply fluctuations. However, having the ability to produce significant amounts of energy on their own soil and having that energy come from a variety of electricity sources increases the resilience that TX has and leads to high energy independence.
While many large-scale solar projects have been undertaken and have proven to yield high amounts of electricity, the households in this state should also install their own solar panels. It is only this type of network that can be truly resilient, as the majority of consumers would turn out to be prosumers or producers and consumers at the same time.
The current Texas solar capacity of 9,311 MW is expected to grow by another 4,600 MW in 2021 and an additional 5,400 MW in 2022. This would increase the total solar production capacity of this state to almost 14,900 MW and bring it much closer to California, which is currently the largest solar producer in the USA. This requires significant investments on both personal and state levels.
Solar Incentives, Rebates, and Tax Credits
As the awareness of the benefits of having solar systems in place rose, so did the incentives offered by the state of Texas. Currently, there are many programs, regulations, and rebates that should enable you to install your Texas solar panels system with less bureaucracy and for fewer bucks. Austin Energy even pays to take over your extra solar power!
- CPS Energy – you can get up to $1.20/W of the solar PV system installed back in the form of rebates;
- Austin Energy – If you live in Austin, you can get a rebate of up to $2,500 for installing solar panels on your roof. Furthermore, Austin Energy company can pay you for your excess solar energy – feeding it into the grid will bring about $0.097 per kWh you produce;
- Texas net metering – Texas does not have a state-wide net metering programs in place. However, many utility companies have established net-metering of their own. During the sunny days, when you produce more energy than you can consume, you feed the extra energy into the grid and get credits for that. When the sun is down and you produce no energy of your own, you get electricity back from the grid. This is the net-metering and this innovative power management system gives you electricity savings on both your electric bill and your solar energy system since even small solar systems can produce enough energy for all your needs;
- The Federal Solar Tax Credit – the solar power tax credits offered by the federal government can substitute for up to 26% of your solar investments. The 26% solar rebate rate is in place for all projects started until the end of 2022. In 2023 and 2024, the solar power rebate rate will fall down to around 22%, and after this period, it will fall once again. So, in 2025 and onwards, you can expect to get around 10% federal solar incentives.
- There are a number of regulations in Texas that can convince you to install solar panels on your home as soon as possible. One of such regulations is the Solar Rights Law which prevents other bodies, such as your local HOA from interfering with your solar energy system installation or your existing residential solar system.
- Texas Property Tax Exemption – As residential solar in Texas and battery storage for storing excess energy increase the value of your property, so should your property taxes. Texas Property Tax Exemption says that the value added to your home by residential solar is not counted towards your property taxes. In other words, property owners can enjoy both state incentives and local incentives for a relatively low initial investment. Not only are you able to produce energy, but you become one of solar providers as you can sell excess electricity to your utility company. One of the reasons residential solar capacity has been increasing are these great solar incentives and other financial benefits which help you save money on your energy bills regardless of how much electricity or how much energy you use.
|The Cost of PV - 10kWh at the average of $2.07 per Watt DC||$20,720|
|CPS Energy Solar Rebate @$1.20 per Watt of Power Installed - 10kWh system||$12,000|
|The Federal Solar Tax Credit @26% by the end of 2022||$5,387|
|Net metering savings per year||$1,580|
|Total cost for a 10kWh solar system at the end of year 1||$1,753|
|Years before a 10kWh system pays off if all of Texas solar incentives are taken||less than 2 years|
Top Solar Companies in Texas
Choosing the best solar installer in Texas can be difficult. The state has over 200 solar installers and comparing all of them can take a lot of your time. A list of the 10 best solar companies in Texas in 2021 follows:
- Sunshine Renewable Solutions, operates in Dallas,
- Solartime USA Inc, operates in Richardson,
- NRG Clean Power, operates in Austin,
- EasTex Solar, operates in Palestine,
- ATMA Energy, LLC, in San Antonio,
- Texas Engineered Solar, in San Antonio,
- Greenbelt Solar, in Austin,
- Texas Solar Professional LLC, operates in Dallas,
- DKD Energy, operates in Austin,
- Aztec Renewable Energy, in Prosper.
There are a lot more companies out there that can install your solar panels as of today. To find the best solar panel installation companies in TX in your area, do your own research and make sure to understand how much experience these companies have in their field. Each solar company on the list can help you save money on your energy bills, but their services come at different prices. Solar electricity and less reliance on your utility company give you peace of mind, but residential solar in Texas can get costly.
How much do solar panels cost for a 1500 square foot house in Texas?
An average household in Texas needs around 10kW of solar panels on their rooftop. This should be enough to cover all your energy needs, including running the lights, the appliances, and the AC year-round. Make sure to ask around in your area and see what rebates you can get to bring the price of your solar installation down.
You can expect to pay an average price of $20,720 for a 10kW solar panels system. This is the price before solar energy rebates and tax credits offered by the federal government. The money will soon be back in your pocket, as you can expect to save around $1580.
These are rough calculations and are based on the average Texas electricity rate of $0.112 and the monthly energy spending of around 1180 kWh.
How does the solar tax credit work if I don’t owe taxes?
Solar credits are applied only if you owe some taxes. If your income is not taxable on the federal level, then you cannot take advantage of the Federal Solar Incentives. However, if you do owe taxes, the 26% tax credit can be used to reduce the amount of taxes you owe.
For example, if you owe $10,000 for federal taxes this year and have paid or taken a solar loan to fund your $20,000 solar panels in Texas, you are eligible for a 26% federal tax credit. This would mean that you would owe the state some $5,200 less in taxes this year.
|Total Federal Taxes Owed||$10,000|
|Solar Panel System Price||$20,000|
|Federal Tax Credit @26% on a $20,000 solar system||$5,200|
|TOTAL Federal Taxes Owed after the Solar Credit||$4,800|
Bear in mind that, if you owe less in Federal Taxes than the Tax Credit you are eligible for, you can take over all the remaining Tax Credits next year, and see a reduction in federal taxes there as well.
What happens when solar panels get too hot?
If your solar panels in Texas get too hot, you may experience a drop in their efficiency. Solar panels are at their optimum temperature range between 59°F and 95°F and any temperature below or above this range will reduce their efficiency.
Is solar popular in Texas?
Yes, solar is very popular in Texas. Texas has over 113,000 solar installations and plans to expand the existing 9,311 MW to 14,600MW of solar capacity in the years 2022 and 2023. With a total of 499 solar companies in TX, solar is also a large employer, with over 9,600 jobs in the solar industry.
Texas is one of the best states for solar energy. It has around 3,700 sunny hours a year and a low number of cloudy days, which are perfect conditions for solar PV system installation. The majority of the state is covered in plains and the sun gets high enough in the sky to guarantee high energy yield from each panel.