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 7 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 $155.24, according to CNET’s sister publication, SaveOnEnergy. Investing in solar panels may be the right choice for you, considering the rising electricity prices.
Read more: Just looking for an emergency backup? Check out portable solar panels and solar generators.
Houston solar panel costs
The cost of solar panels in Houston will vary among homes based on the solar array size and individual household electricity consumption. Texas data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Tracking the Sun report can also help us estimate what Houston residents will pay for solar panels. Plus, solar incentives are available in Houston to lower the overall cost of home solar panels. Current incentives include a 30% federal solar tax credit, net metering benefits from Houston electricity providers and more.
Here’s a breakdown of the average cost of solar panels in Texas in comparison to the nationwide average, according to 2022 data from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Wood Mackenzie.
Factors that affect the cost of solar in Houston
Solar panels aren’t one-size-fits-all. The location, layout and energy needs of every home are different, making solar pricing for every residence different too. Installing additional equipment, like a solar battery, will push your estimate up even higher. Here are some of the biggest factors that affect the cost of going solar.
- System size: The more solar panels you install, the more you’ll pay. The number of solar panels you’ll need depends on your home’s energy needs and usage.
- Tax credits and incentives: Texas offers a variety of incentives to help residents with the cost of going solar. Most solar incentives are tax credits and rebates offered through the state and local utility companies.
- Condition of your roof: Old or damaged roofs might need to be replaced before you install solar panels.
- Brand and type of panel installed: Certain types of solar panels cost more than others. Monocrystalline solar panels usually cost the most, but they offer the highest efficiency ratings.
- Additional equipment installed: For a complete solar system, you’ll be paying for additional equipment besides solar panels. Certain types of inverters cost more than others. And installing a solar battery could cost you $10,000 or more.
Solar financing options for Houston residents
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.
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.
Houston solar panel companies
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 best solar companies, based on customer data and buying trends.
ADT Solar, a division of ADT security, was known as Sunpro Solar before ADT purchased it in 2021. Headquartered in Florida, this solar panel company offers high-quality monocrystalline solar panels backed by a 25-year warranty. Solar battery options include the Tesla Powerwall and Enphase IQ. ADT Solar ranked second on Solar Power World Magazine’s Top Residential Solar Installer list in 2021.
Founded in 2010, South Carolina-based Palmetto Solar offers its customers monocrystalline solar panels and Sonnen solar batteries. Palmetto boasts “end-to-end solar services” by supporting the customer at every step of the solar process, resulting in the company being named the “most forward-thinking solar contractor” by Solar Power World in 2022.
Since 1985, SunPower and its sister company Maxeon have provided solar panel installations with the most efficient residential solar panels available. Based in California, the company has a 25-year system warranty and a 10-year battery warranty, along with several financing options. Due to its sustainable practices, the business earned PV Magazine’s Sustainability Award in 2019.
Budget-conscious solar customers can turn to Sunrun for solar leases and PPAs. While other solar companies tend to encourage cash or loan options, Sunrun customers typically pay a flat monthly fee while the company maintains ownership of the solar array. Founded in 2007 and headquartered in California, Sunrun’s speedy growth and 2020 acquisition of Vivint Solar led to it becoming the largest US solar company. Sunrun has won various awards, including the 2014 Global Cleantech award for innovation in clean technology and the 2010 Green Power Leadership award for advancing green power.
Popular electric vehicle brand Tesla ventured into the solar panel market in 2016. Known for its Powerwall battery and Solar Roof, the Texas-based company offers high-efficiency solar panels with a 25-year panel performance, 10-year comprehensive system warranty and 10-year battery warranty. Tesla’s price transparency through online quotes and referral bonuses has provided a positive counterbalance to the company’s initial dispute with shareholders and lawsuit over pricing inconsistencies.
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.