Solar Energy News

What's happening around the world in the solar industry and how it might affect you

Longhorn solarNational Instruments employees could get a 6 kilowatt photovoltaic system for a total cost of $3,517 after all the incentives are tallied up, thanks to a rebate offered by installer Longhorn Solar on top of other incentives.

That’s a pretty hefty discount from the $22,500 such a system would carry in up-front costs. Longhorn is offering, through May 31, National Instruments employees that are customers of Austin Electric a 50 cent-per-watt discount on a PV array. That’s on top of the $2.50 per watt rebate from Austin Energy and a federal tax break.

Under the offerings, homeowners would pay about $5,025 in up-front costs for a PV array, according to Longhorn Director of Marketing Robert Hoskins. After homeowners take the federal incentive on the balance, it drops the system cost down to slightly more than $3,500. “It’s probably the best deal in America. Austin has one of the best solar rebate programs in Texas if not America,” He said.

Given that the rebates are so high, homeowners might not even need to get a loan for an installation, after all it’s less than the cost of buying a car. “When you have prices this low, people use credit cards,” Hoskins said. Such a system would also save residents about $810 annually. That means a system would pay for it self in slightly more than four years—or less, if Austin’s energy prices go up.

Under the offering, National Instruments will collect data on the installations, like how much energy is produced and how much carbon dioxide pollution is offset by arrays installed through the offering. The company will then use those figures in part of its green marketing, according to Hoskins. “It’s a program we put together for National Instruments.…that we can put that together for anybody,” he said.

Longhorn Solar could also develop a program where companies that offer a small rebate to employees could have rights to any solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) that the systems generate. “We’re trying to get a program like that going,” Hoskins said.

The company could develop such programs throughout the state. And it will offer similar terms in Austin Energy’s region until the municipal utility runs out of money for the program.