How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Texas

So just like most things, you can spend as much as you want to on solar panels and installations, depending on what you want to do. Just in general, solar panels in the state range somewhere between $2.50 and $2.75 per watt, which will come out to something like $625-$650 per panel. 

How many Solar Panels do I need to power my home?

Again, this is very much a subjective question and depends entirely on a lot of factors that are unique to each individual. Probably the biggest factors to consider are the size of your home (obviously the bigger the home, the more power it will use) and the number of people living there, as the more people living in your home, the more hot water, the more loads of laundry, the more TVs and lights that will be used, etc. While those are the two biggest contributors, there are a number of other things to consider- everything from how warm or cool you prefer to keep your home to how many appliances you will have plugged in on a daily basis. Your solar installation company can give you a good idea of how much solar power you’ll need by examining your past electric bills. 

On average, most American homes will need between 6 and 8 kilowatts of solar panels to run their home completely independent of “the grid”. At 250 watts per panel, this comes out to between 24 and 32 panels, or $16,000-$21,000. 

What about the ITC?

The federal government offers an investment tax credit to anyone installing solar panels. The homeowner may claim 26% of the entire cost of their solar installation as a credit toward their federal income tax liability, which can result in a savings of thousands of dollars. When you get down to brass tacks, we’re talking about a savings of $5,200 on a $20,000 installation, or a savings of $3,900 on a $15,000 installation. So before you get any other kind of rebates or incentives, you’ve already gotten back thousands of the dollars you’ve invested in your solar system. 

Local Utility Rebates

Some states offer a state rebate for customers who go solar, but Texas is not one of those. However, many local municipalities and utilities do offer some form of rebates as encouragement to their customers to install green energy systems, so it is worth checking into your local electric company to see if they may be one of those. If you they are, they may issue a cash payment to you or to your installer to help pay for the installation, or they may credit you on future electric bills. 

PACE Financing:

The “Property Assessed Clean Energy” financing program available in Texas offers any qualifying resident the chance to finance their solar installation by having a property assessment. The amount which you finance can be paid off through property tax payments or on an annual basis until the entire system is paid off. Not every area in Texas participates in PACE however, so make sure you check before you make a decision if you are interested in using PACE to finance your system. 

Property Tax Exemption:

Property taxes in Texas are known to be very high, so any relief on that front is going to make a difference. So good news – Texas law prevents the reassessment of property value based on the addition of a green energy system, such as solar panels. In other words, your property tax liability will not go up based on your installation. 

Increased Home Value:

And what’s even better is that even though your electric bills will go down and your property tax bill remain the same, your home’s value will go up. Exactly how much is debatable, but in general you can assume a value increase of between $10,000 and $20,000. A real estate agent can give you a better idea of exactly how much your solar panels could increase your home’s resale price, but to put it bluntly, your home’s value will increase by about as much as you pay for your solar installation. So if you plan to sell your home anytime in the next 10 years, there’s a good possibility that they will pay for themselves strictly by increasing the sale price of your home. Incidentally, it is also worth noting that homes with solar panels also tend to sell faster than others. 

“Payback” Period:

So overall, yes, your solar panels are going to cost you a pretty penny. But between rebates, tax credits, increase in home value, etc, they just about pay for themselves without ever generating the first watt of electricity. But guess what- they will generate electricity, and lots of it. So you can expect a lifetime energy savings of as much as $40-50,000 thanks to your panels, which by itself will eventually pay for your panels. But even better, the energy your system produces and feeds back into the grid (the energy your home doesn’t use) will in most cases be “credited” to you for future electric bills. So not only will you get “free” electricity while your panels are producing, you’ll get free electricity when they aren’t or in times when your energy use outstrips your production. 

So exactly how long will your panels take to pay for themselves? Currently estimates are something around 12-13 years. But consider that the lifetime of your solar panels could be as long as 25 or more years, and you can see that you’ll have completely paid off solar panels producing free, clean energy for many many years. 

Final Word:

So overall, you’re looking at a home upgrade that will provide free electricity, will increase the value of your by about as much as you pay for it, and will eventually pay for itself and more. So the question really becomes, if you are financially able to make the investment and in a stable enough living situation, what is really stopping you from going solar?