Like everything in the Lone Star state, Texas solar energy is big. Renewable energy made up more than half of total power generation during this summer’s heat waves. Utility-scale solar capacity is expected to grow more this year in Texas than in any other state.
You can get more of the benefits of solar energy with a home solar system. Solar buyback plans give you credit for the electricity you produce.
Learn more about how to take advantage of excess solar power and find the best solar buyback rates in Texas.
What Are Solar Buyback Plans in Texas?
A solar buyback plan is essentially a type of net metering. When your solar panels produce more energy than you use, you can export it to the electricity grid. You receive a credit from your utility company for the excess solar energy you send to the grid.
Texas doesn’t require electricity providers to offer net metering. The state also doesn’t regulate net metering plans that electricity companies may offer. For this reason, solar buyback plans can vary significantly.
Advantages of Solar Buyback Plans
The obvious advantage of solar buyback plans is that they lower your electricity bill. You could pay nothing for your power use if your solar panels provide enough energy.
Solar power production varies by day and month. Excess solar energy can lower future utility bills. Excellent energy generation in the summer can help offset lower generation in the fall.
The money you save with the buyback program helps you recover the costs of installing your solar panels.
Renewable energy sources like solar have many environmental benefits. Solar panels reduce reliance on fossil fuels. They don’t produce greenhouse gases.
Regulated vs Deregulated Energy Markets
The amount of choice you have in a solar buyback plan depends on whether you live in a regulated or deregulated electricity market. Around 85% of Texans live in a deregulated area.
You can choose your retail electricity provider in deregulated parts of Texas. The transmission and distribution utility (TDU) has a local monopoly even in deregulation, though. You’ll see TDU fees on your electricity bill.
Deregulation is an advantage when comparing solar buyback plan rates. You may have more options.
In regulated areas, you’re left without a solar buyback program if the local utility doesn’t offer one. If the utility company has a net metering plan, you can’t shop around for better rates.
Uncapped, Capped, and Real-time Metering Plans
Power companies can give you credit for excess solar power in several ways. Solar buyback plans can be uncapped or capped. You may also find real-time metering plans.
Uncapped Solar Buyback
An uncapped plan typically saves you the most money. If you produce more energy than you use, the utility company doesn’t limit how much they will credit you for. You can carry unused credits over to the next month.
An uncapped plan means you get the benefits of solar energy even in months when your panels don’t produce as much.
Capped Solar Buyback
A capped solar buyback plan limits how much energy the power company will give you credit for. You won’t receive credit for anything you produce beyond what you used during the month.
For example, if your home used 1000 kWh of electricity last month, you can’t receive more than 1000 kWh in credits. If your solar panel system produced 1200 kWh, the excess energy still goes to the grid. You just don’t receive credit for it.
A capped plan helps you save money on your electricity bill. The savings are lower than with an uncapped plan, though.
Uncapped and capped buyback plans provide credits based on your monthly usage. A real-time metering plan credits you as power generation occurs. If your home produces 2 kWh more than your home needs at 6 pm, you receive a credit at that time.
The utility company bases the credits on the price of electricity at that moment. You may receive credits worth much less than the rate you pay to buy electricity.
Solar Buyback Plan Rates
The rate you get for energy credits in a solar buyback plan can vary depending on your utility company. Many plans give you credit at the energy charge rate. This is the rate you pay for the electricity you use from the grid.
However, your total cost for energy from the grid is higher than the energy charge rate. You also pay TDU charges. Those charges aren’t included in the buyback rate, so your solar energy credits will be worth somewhat less than what you actually pay.
Feed-in tariffs are another way of providing compensation for excess solar power. The rates aren’t tied to the retail cost of energy. Instead of getting a kWh credit for every kWh your solar panels produce, the credit has a predetermined value.
The value may be higher or lower than the retail cost of energy.
Signing Up for a Solar Buyback Plan
Signing up for a solar buyback plan is simple. Most electricity companies offer plan enrollment online. You can also sign up for a plan over the phone.
For most buyback plans, the utility company will install a bi-directional meter. This type of smart meter monitors how much electricity you use compared to how much your solar panels generate. It essentially runs the meter backward when you’re producing more electricity than you use.
You’ll need two meters for a plan with feed-in tariffs. One meter measures power going into the grid.
The other meter measures your energy use. This lets the utility company use different rates for production and usage.
Get the Best Solar BuyBack Rates in Texas
Solar buyback plans have many advantages. You get the benefits of solar energy while saving money on your utilities. Your savings help offset the cost of installing your solar panel system.
To get the best solar buyback rates in Texas, choose Chariot Energy. Chariot Energy offers unlimited credits for your excess solar power. If you need more electricity than you produce, you benefit from a low fixed rate.
Preview your rates with Chariot Energy today to see how you can take advantage of our generous solar buyback plans.