Texas Solar Guide: Navigating Net Metering and Buyback Plans

A recent study in Texas has stated that almost 210,000 Texas homes use solar energy. Texas officials are planning to get 100% solar energy by 2043. Unfortunately, there are no standard rules for net metering in Texas. There are 17 states in the country with standard rules and regulations for net metering; Texas is not one of them. However, Texas offers different buyback plans for its solar users. If you plan to go solar in Texas, this blog will guide you through all the Texas net metering plans and the buyback plans through which you can save money through solar panels.

Key Takeaways

  • Net Metering in Texas
  • Electricity Landscape in Texas
  • Companies Offer buyback Plans
  • Buyback plans in the deregulated areas of Texas
  • Buyback plans in regulated areas of Texas
  • Considering solar batteries in Texas
  • Are solars worthy of installation in Texas
  • Texas Incentives for 2024
  • Final Words

Texas Net Metering

Texas is a good state for solar due to the hot weather. On average, Texas has 350 sunny days annually, which makes it a solar-friendly state. During peak hours of sunshine, solar panels in Texas produce an excess amount of energy than the usage of a home. Net metering is a process that saves this surplus energy. In other states of the USA, utility companies follow rules to pay back these extra credits to the homeowner. The grid receives these extra units of electricity, and homeowners can use this energy at retail prices at night. However, Texas does not have any regulatory measures for net metering. Many retail electricity providers (REPs) and local utility companies offer various packages for net metering. Some companies add these credits to your next month’s bill, some offer you cash, and few have a cap.

Electricity LandScape in Texas

Did it happen to you that you met any person in your office with electricity rates different from yours? This is due to Texas’ surprising electricity landscape. Before exploring the incentives and buyback plans for electricity in Texas, let’s understand the electricity market in Texas. The state has two main areas

  • Deregulated areas of Texas 
  • Regulated areas of Texas

Deregulated Texas Electricity Market

85% of areas of the state are under deregulated areas. Suppose you are a resident of a deregulated region in Texas. In that case, you are lucky to enjoy the perks of choosing a Retail Electric Provider (REP) according to your choice by analyzing all the pros and cons. However, it has a disadvantage as well. You do not have the option to select the transmission and distribution utility (TDU) company. So, you can not make your REP and TDU the same company. The bill you get from the REP company includes both the REP electricity charges and TDU fees.

Regulated Electricity Texas Market

The remaining 15% of the area is under the regulated Texas. In these areas, people do not have the choice to choose REP to maximize their solar profits. The local utility companies are the one and all for all supply and buyback procedures. This system is beneficial because you do not have to search for a REP with the best rates; your utility company pays back extra power on fixed rates. However, you can not earn more profits on peak sunny days when solar energy produces more energy.

Companies Offer Buyback Plans in Deregulated Areas

Almost more than 100 companies operating in Texas that offer buyback plans. The thing to remember here is that these companies do not provide buyback on a fixed rate. You have to bargain to fix your rate with them. Out of these 100, we have shortlisted a few of the best net metering companies in texas offering reasonable payback rates.

Almika Solar Pulse PowerTXU energy
Amigo EnergyGreen Mountain EnergyOctopus
Chariot EnergyReliantMP2 energy

Buyback Plans in The Deregulated Areas

The three primary and standard buyback power plans in Texas are

  • Uncapped credit plans for Solar buyback
  • Capped credit plans for solar buyback
  • Real-Time Metering

Uncapped Plans for Solar Buyback 

This is the most beneficial plan for saving money. In this, the REP companies give you credit in the form of a reduced electricity bill. These credits have no limit to expiration. These buyback credits are the energy charge rate, equal to the charges for the power you use from the grid. An important point is that these buyback credits do not cancel the charges from the grid supply.

Capped Credit Plans for Pulse Power Solar BuyBack

These plans cannot pay you back. Suppose you use a specific supply (700kw) from the grid; your company will pay you back only for 700kw even though your system produces 1000 KW, 3000kw more than your usage. The grid will use this excess power without giving you any credit back, cash, or any other advantage.

Real-Time Net Metering Texas

This system is different from the above two. In this, the REPs pay you cash on the spot. Let’s make it more straightforward. Suppose your solar panel produces 4KW at 1 pm, but your home uses only 2KW, and then the REP company will pay you for that extra 2KW on the spot according to the retail prices of the electricity. The average price of electricity in Texas is 0.03$ per KW.

This price may increase or decrease based on demand and supply. This net metering system is beneficial because you get the cash on time and don’t have to worry about waiting until the end of the month to calculate net credits for the whole month.

Which REP’s PLAN to Choose?

Do you need clarification on which REP and which plan to choose? It depends on your daily usage, area, and system power. Always select the REP that offers the best-matched plan with your solar energy. For example, if you have a solar system with more energy and less usage, you should choose an Uncapped credit plan with no limit. Still, if your system does not produce more power than your daily usage, you can use real-time net metering or capped credit plans.

Buyback Plans in Regulated Areas of Texas

Buyback plans in regulated areas do not have more options. It depends upon the area you live in and the offer packages of the utility company in your area. Let’s discuss some buyback plans offered by various utility companies in the state.

CPS Energy Solar Buyback Plan

The utility company of the San Antonio area offers a CPS energy buyback plan under the term net billing. This plan will give you the buyback credit according to your home’s daily usage. For example, your solar system produces 500KW extra power daily, and your home usage is 300KW. CPS Energy will offer you payback credits for 300 Kw on retail prices, while the least 200 watts will be credited back at lower rates. The import rate for 300 KW is 0.13$ while for prices with less, the rate is 0.02$.

Austin Buyback Plan

The utility company of the city of Austin offers buyback credits with a different policy. Their policy is different in the states and the whole country. They give credits based on solar system efficiency. This depends upon many factors, such as how efficient the system is, how much power it has to reduce the burden from the grid, etc. In this system, your solar panels are attached to two meters. One measures the production of solar energy, and the other meter measures your home’s electricity usage. The monthly bill of your home in Austin has two essential components

  • Energy Charges
  • Solar Credits

Energy charges calculate your home electricity consumption, and the bill is measured by multiplying them by the retail prices of the electricity. Solar credits calculate the total power that your system produces, and it is multiplied by the solar rate.

If the solar credits exceed your energy usage, they will be added to your toothbrush bill.

Brownsville BuyBack Plan

Brownsville offers accurate metering to its consumers. In this system, your meter calculates the excess power over your daily usage, and you get the cash according to the Fuel & Purchase Energy Charge (FPEC). The import rate in Brownsville is 0.05-0.08$ per watt, while the buyback rate is 0.04$.

CoServ Buyback Plan for Solars

CoServ offers a plan that gives you a buyback package limited to your monthly usage. The energy your system produces more than you need is sent to the grid, and Coserv does not pay you for this. CoServ is actually an electric organization that works in more than six states, and Texas is one of them.CoSer’s Summer buyback rate is $0.13$, and its winter buyback rate is $0.11-0.13$, which is equal to the retail prices of electricity in the area.

Entergy’s Texas Buyback Plans

This plan covers 17 counties. The good news for the people living in this area is that this program offers three choices to the solar owners. Let’s discuss all these choices one by one.

Choice 1: Entergy’s. The buyback plan does not require purchasing any exact power from the homeowner. However, they will install a meter that measures your daily usage, and if you want to send extra electricity to the grid, you can.

Choice 2: In this option, the company will purchase extra electricity units from the homeowner, but the buyback rate is 0.04$-0.05$, which is less than the retail rate of electricity, which is 0.10$.

Choice 3: The company will purchase all of the homeowner’s solar credits at 0.04-0.05$, which is much less, and there will be no savings. So, we suggest you go with the second option because saving something is better than nothing.

Role of Solar Batteries in Texas

After reading all the buyback plans, are you worried about maximizing the solar energy savings? No program in Texas offers a good amount of buyback. In this scenario, solar batteries are the best option to opt. Instead of sending your extra energy to the grid at a very low rate, you can store it in your batteries and use it later. But the batteries are costly. A standard range battery costs you about $10000. If you can manage a battery, it would be a great option to help you in the following points.

  • You will become energy-independent, with no more dependency on the grid.
  • You can use extra energy at any time. It is a good option for cloudy days because Texas has experienced complete blackouts during recent storms. The grids of Texas cannot handle the windy and stormy days.
  • You rely on green energy and feel proud to play a positive part in a pollution-free environment.

Are Solars Worthy to Install in Texas?

Although everybody wants to maximize their profits by selling extra energy at higher prices, if you do not have such options, that does not mean that solar panels are not worth installing. It makes you fully independent in producing your electricity at your place. Moreover, all solar owners can return their investment within 12 years. After these years, the rest is your return on investment. So, you should install solar even if you live in Texas and take part in making a hazard-free environment by producing green energy.

Solar Panels Incentives For Texas in 2024

Although Texas utility companies do not offer any attractive buyback plan, higher officials of Texas provide various incentives and rebates on going solar that reduce the initial solar installation cost. Let’s know about all these incentives.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

The Federal Government offers a 30% tax reduction on the purchase of solar systems. This is a one-time offer that reduces the total cost of installation in Texas. The cost for a typical 5MW solar system in Texas is between $10,115$ and $13,168$, which is reduced to 30% after this tax exemption applies.

Property Tax Exemption

The installation of a solar system increases the value of your home. If you plan to sell your house, you will get a higher price than usual. But do you know you do not have to pay the tax on the increased price of your home? Yes, being a solar owner who installs a solar system on the roof of your home, you are exempt from this tax.

Local Incentives for The Texa People

Many other incentives and rebate programs are also available for the Taxians. Some of them are as under.

American Electric Smart Solar Pv Program: According to this program, you can earn up to 30000$ rebates depending upon your system size.

Austin Energy Solar Photovoltaic Rebates & Incentives: You can earn a 2500$ rebate through this program on installation. But, there is a condition for eligibility. You have to enroll in any solar awareness program.

Oncor Residential Solar Program: Oncor offers a hefty rebate on installing your solar system. The rebate amount depends upon the size and efficiency of your solar system.

SMTX Solar PV Rebate: This program is for San Marco utility providers’ customers. According to this program, you can claim a rebate amount of 2500$.

Final Words

Texas is a solar-friendly state due to its hot weather. Almost all houses in Texas use solar energy. However, the concern of the people of Texa is that there are no standard rules for net metering like in other states in the USA. Therefore, many REPs and local utilities offer buyback prices at a lower rate than the retail utility rate of electricity. The people of unregulated areas in Texas can choose a company and select the buyback plan according to their wishes. However, the people living in the regulated areas do not have such options, and they rely on the utility company offers. The utility companies of many municipalities and counties provide buyback packages at lower rates than retail rates. In this scenario, the best option for the Texians is to keep their batteries and store the energy. If you can not afford the battery, there is no need to worry. Texas officials offer various local incentives and rebate programmes. You can avail of these. 

To know more updates about solar system installation in Texas, Contact Us.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, Texas does not follow any standard rules for net metering. However, various REPs and local utility companies offer net metering or buyback plans at different rates. Most of these buyback plans are lower than the retail prices of electricity in Texas.

The three primary and standard buyback power plans in deregulated areas of Texas are

  • Uncapped credit plans for Solar buyback
  • Capped credit plans for solar buyback
  • Real-Time Metering

Yes, solar panels are worthy of installation in Texas. They make you fully independent in producing sufficient amounts of energy for your daily use. The average payback period for solar investment in Texas is 12 years. After these 12 years, the average return on investment is almost 10% annually.

Batteries are costly in Texas. An average battery costs $10,000. However, if you do not want to sell extra power at lower rates to utility companies, batteries are an excellent option to select and store energy. Texas experienced an electrical downfall during recent storms. The Texas grids are not capable of handling windy and stormy days’ pressure. In such scenarios, batteries are worth the investment.

Jackson Brown

I am Jackson Brown. I am a lecturer turned solar expert, I am fond of traveling and a good chef.