The solar market is growing exponentially in the US. In Texas alone, the compound annual growth rate of solar is nearly 16%—meaning the market size will more than triple by 2030.
As investment goes up, prices come down. And thanks to tax incentives, solar buyback, and energy savings, solar panels pay for themselves faster than ever.
Keep reading to learn about the solar buyback program in Texas.
The Basics of Solar Buyback
Solar buyback makes investment in solar energy more attractive for homeowners and businesses. It refers to a program that allows solar panel owners to sell the excess electricity they generate back to the electric grid.
Buyback programs are made possible through net metering and energy credits (below). The sale of excess energy can help offset the cost of installing solar panels and maintaining them in the long term.
How does it work?
When solar panels generate excess energy, the excess is fed back into the grid. In return, the owner receives credits on their electric bills based on the amount of excess generated.
Understanding Net Metering and Energy Credits in Texas
Net metering is a billing arrangement that lets solar panel owners receive energy credits.
In Texas, the second-best state for solar in the U.S., net metering policies vary depending on the location and electric utility company servicing the area. Some utilities offer like-for-like, full retail credit for excess energy. Others offer a reduced rate.
Energy credits, known as renewable energy credits (or “RECs”), are another way solar panel owners benefit from their solar panel systems. In Texas, one REC is equivalent to 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of excess solar energy. These credits can be sold or traded in the competitive energy market and provide an additional source of income for solar panel owners.
The Upsides of Selling Your Excess Energy
Selling your excess energy is a common benefit many people point to when they switch to solar. Yet the benefits of buyback are more nuanced than that and include:
- Lower electric bills
- Environmental benefits
- Financial incentives
- Supporting the local electric grid
Selling your energy back to the grid offsets some of the costs of electricity if you’re energy-dependent in the winter months. Plus, solar panel owners receive RECs to make the deal sweeter.
In addition, excess energy fed back into the grid reduces the demand for fossil fuels. Rolling blackouts are growing increasingly common in the U.S. as the energy grid struggles to cope with demand. Solar buyback helps owners to do their bit for a greener future while lessening the energy burden for everybody.
How to Calculate Your Solar Savings Potential
The two main factors in figuring out your buyback potential are the amount of energy you produce, and the amount you consume.
Solar panel technology is always improving. At present, the average solar panel produces between 250 and 400 watts per hour. Over an 8-hour period, it will produce up to 1-3 kWh per day depending on the amount of sunshine it receives. The angle, intensity of sunlight, and solar panel material also play a vital role.
With an installation consisting of 25 panels, your solar installation might produce in excess of 9,000 kWh annually. The remainder can be sold back to the energy grid depending on how much you use.
In real monetary terms, the average household can expect to save $1,500 per year in energy bills before accounting for RECs. That’s based on the national average energy costs – and if recent events have told us anything, it’s that energy prices can fluctuate wildly.
The sun, on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Accounting for solar credits, Texans going solar can expect to “break even” on their solar panel investment within 5-10 years.
The Process of Selling Excess Solar Energy
Selling excess energy involves several steps from start to finish:
- Installing solar panel systems
- Connecting to the electric grid
- Monitoring solar energy generation and consumption
- Receiving credits for excess energy
A solar energy professional can guide you on the appropriate size and configuration of a solar panel system that meets your needs. Once it’s installed, it needs to be connected to the energy grid.
This process typically demands approval from the local utility company. It may also involve an inspection of your solar panel system.
Monitoring electricity generation and consumption helps solar panel owners ensure they’re maximizing their buyback potential. This is done through the use of energy monitoring software, or by hand by regularly reviewing electric bills.
Maximizing Your Returns
How do you get the best returns?
Firstly, your solar panels must be positioned to maximize their energy generation. That means they should be installed at an optimal angle in the best place to receive as much sunlight exposure as possible. Regular maintenance and inspection help to keep energy generation high.
For instance, if a solar panel is obstructed by dead leaves in the fall, its efficiency will be drastically reduced because less sunlight reaches its surface.
Secondly, implementing energy efficiency measures within your property will reduce the amount of energy you need. Lowering energy consumption and upgrading your heating insulation are two examples.
Finally, some solar panel owners install battery storage systems. The batteries store excess energy for use during periods of high demand or low sunlight, such as during the night or throughout the winter months. This further reduces your reliance on the electricity grid, saving you more money in the long run.
Solar Buyback Regulations and Policies
In Texas, solar buyback varies depending on the utility company serving the area. However, there are several state-wide policies in place to support solar energy production.
These include the net metering and energy credits we covered above, as well as solar tax incentives and interconnection standards. Tax incentives in Texas can drop the effective price of solar panel installation by around 30%.
Interconnection standards ensure safe, reliable connections between solar panel systems and the wider energy grid.
Go Solar Sooner
Solar buyback makes solar energy more attractive for home and business owners.
In Texas, buyback is becoming increasingly popular due to the state’s abundant sunshine and progressive policies. As the cost of solar continues to shrink, the cost savings can only go in one direction:
It’s time for energy to move in a new direction. At Chariot Energy, we deliver affordable 100% solar solutions. Click here to get started figuring out the best solar plan for you, or get in touch with Chariot by calling us at 855-524-2746.