Are solar panels a good investment in Houston? For many H-Town residents and businesses, the answer is yes. According to US Climate Data, Houston gets 2,633 annual hours of sunshine, an average of seven hours per day. This means solar panels in Houston have the potential to generate a lot of energy.
Storms and hurricanes occasionally strain the limits of Houston’s power infrastructure, leading many Houstonians to look for ways to strengthen their energy independence in case of power outages.
Houston residents are also turning to solar to lower monthly electricity bills. The average monthly electricity bill in Texas is $251.71. Investing in solar panels may be the right choice for you, considering the rising electricity prices.
Here’s what you need to know about solar panels in Houston.
Can solar panels save you money?
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Best national solar panel companies in Houston
Houston has hundreds of solar panel installers for residents and businesses, but selecting the best installer requires research and planning. Below are five solar panel companies available in Houston that we’ve listed among our choices for the best solar companies, based on customer data and buying trends.
Local solar panel companies in Houston
How to determine which solar company in Houston is best for me
Here are some tips to help you find a reputable installer.
- Understand federal, state and local solar incentives. Make sure your installer can accurately explain how tax credits and incentives work.
- Read online reviews from multiple sources. Google and Yelp are a good place to start.
- Get recommendations from neighbors who have solar installed.
- Check an installer’s licensing and certifications. Look for installers who are certified by NABCEP.
- Compare multiple solar quotes.
- Ask your installer all your questions, even the difficult ones.
- Assess your potential savings cost and your solar payback period. Your installer should be able to explain this to you.
Average cost of solar panels in Houston
Here’s a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system before factoring in tax credits incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com. But your system might become more expensive if you choose to include solar batteries or additional equipment in your purchase.
Texas solar panel costs
|System size (kW)||Price per watt||Total cost|
Houston solar panel rebates and incentives
Homeowners looking to install solar panels can refer to the Houston incentives and rebates table below. The most well-known, cost-saving incentive is the Residential Clean Energy Credit. Homeowners who pay with cash or use a solar loan, between 2022 and 2032, can receive a 30% federal tax credit when they file their income taxes for the entire cost of a solar panel installation. A reputable solar installer can also assist with determining other local benefits available through your electricity provider or county and town governance.
Some Houston solar incentives
|Energy-efficient mortgages||An EEM assesses the value of future utility savings to secure better financing for the borrower. Financing terms may include larger loan amounts, lower interest rates and more.|
|Green Mountain Energy Renewable Rewards Buyback Program||Green Mountain Energy gives bill credits to solar owners when they connect to the grid with a system size of less than 50 kW.|
|Net Metering Programs||Houston electricity providers often offer net metering programs for solar owners. Net metering sells extra energy back to the grid for electricity bill credits. Contact your electric provider to see if a net metering program exists.|
|Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption||Houston residents are exempt from property tax increases that occur from installing a solar panel system. Residents can apply with Form 50-123.|
|Residential Clean Energy Credit||Houston residents can claim the Clean Energy Credit. This 30% federal tax credit is available until 2032. IRS form 5695 is needed to apply.|
|TXU Energy Home Solar Buyback||The TXU Solar Buyback program offers electric bill credits for solar system owners who send excess energy to the grid.|
How to pay for solar panels in Houston
Solar panel systems in Houston are typically paid for by one of the following options. Each payment method has pros and cons for homeowners to consider.
- Cash: Interest-free, but must pay upfront.
- Solar loans: Can pay over time, but interest can accrue.
- Solar lease: Flat monthly payments, but ineligible to claim some incentives and rebates.
- Power Purchase Agreement: Little-to-no homeowner maintenance, but it takes longer to see a return on investment.
Cash and solar loans are the most beneficial for homeowners who want a quick solar investment return. Taking out a personal loan or opening a home equity line of credit are a couple other options to finance your panels as well. Solar leases and PPAs are best for residents who can’t pay cash and may not qualify for a large loan.
Just looking for an emergency backup? Check out portable solar panels and solar generators.
Installation factors to keep in mind
The decision to invest in solar to gain more energy independence involves many contributing factors. Is solar worth it for you? To make the best decision, consider these factors of solar installation, ownership and maintenance.
|HOA rules||HOAs cannot ban solar panels in Houston due to Texas solar rights laws, but your neighborhood could have rules around the placement or aesthetics of solar panels. Look into your HOA agreement to see if any restrictions apply.|
|Home insurance||Your home insurance may go up by adding solar panels to your home, but it’s important to insure your investment. Speak with your home insurance company in advance to see how adding solar panels will affect your coverage.|
|Home location||Solar power captures energy from the sun, so sunlight is essential for an effective array. Although panels can still generate energy in cold or shaded areas, extreme cover is unfavorable.|
|Own or rent||Ask your landlord if installing solar is permitted at your home if you rent. If not, you can consider community solar programs like Arcadia to use solar energy and possibly see savings on your electric bill.|
|Roof condition||Trusted solar installers will analyze roof quality and age to include any needed repairs when creating an initial solar panel quote. The roof’s size and slope are also a factor in how many solar panels are required, which will affect the productivity of the solar array.|