Texas is still a little frustrated that it’s not the biggest state anymore, nor home to the United State’s biggest oil reserves. Alaska can claim both those titles, but it can’t best the Lone Star state in one important way, renewable resources. Texas was a big player in the development of its wind resources in the late 1990s.
Though it's known for its big wind, the state ranks second in the nation for solar potential. Enough sunshine falls on the state to provide most of its energy needs with just a little investment in solar power.
Texas has seen its economy and its population surge in recent years. As a fast-growing state with a strong economy and plenty of new business, the state has seen a rapid increase in demand for energy.
With all that demand, it seems like Texas would be investing in solar at an equally feverish pace. But the state slipped from 10th place for installed solar in 2012 to 13th place in 2013, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. With 218 megawatts of installed solar at the end of 2013, the state wasn’t shining above its peers.
Still, Texans are installing solar. The state had more than 300 solar companies in 2013 and installed 75 megawatts of solar that year alone.
Local Loan Program
Local Rebate Program
Property Tax Incentive
Sales Tax Incentive
State Loan Program
Utility Loan Program
Utility Rebate Program
Rules, Regulations & Policies
Building Energy Code
Energy Efficiency Resource Standard
Energy Standards for Public Buildings
Green Power Purchasing
Line Extension Analysis
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Solar/Wind Access Policy
Related Programs & Initiatives
Alternative Fuels Data Center
The U.S. Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) provides information, data and tools to help fleets and other transportation decision-makers find ways to reduce petroleum consumption through the use of alternative and renewable fuels, advanced vehicles, and other fuel-saving measures.
Green Power Network
The U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and activities, including opportunities to buy green power. This site provides state-by-state information on green power marketing and utility green power programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as green tags or renewable energy certificates, which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from renewable energy projects.
Weatherization Assistance Program
The U.S. Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) enables low-income families to reduce their energy bills by making their homes more energy-efficient. Through this program, weatherization service providers install energy-efficiency measures in the homes of qualifying homeowners free of charge. The WAP program web site offers a state-by-state map of opportunities, projects and activities.
Wind Powering America
The U.S. Department of Energy's Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state information on wind projects and activities, including wind working groups, validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, state-specific news, wind for schools, workshops and web casts.
|Required Documentation||Locally Determined|
|Official Web Site||Financial incentive no longer available for residential properties.|
|Technologies||PV, other renewables (dependent on utility)|
|Amount||Dependent on utility|
|Required Documentation||Dependent on utility|
|Official Web Site||Check your local utility’s site|
Not many Texas utilities continue to offer rebates for solar installations. Contact your local utility directly to see what is offered. In many jurisdictions, rebate programs are very limited and “sell out” the first day they’re offered.
|Program Type||Net Metering|
Photoviltaics, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Anaerobic Digestion, Tidal Energy, Wave Energy, Landfill Gas
|Amount||Determined by participating utilities|
|Required Documentation||Check with you local energy provider to determine whether your utility offers net metering. For Green Mountain, Interconnection Agreement and enrollment|
|Official Web Site||https://www.greenmountainenergy.com/for-home/renewable-rewards-buy-back-program/#3|
Texas does not have a state-wide net-metering program. But utilities are allowed to offer their own net metering programs anyway and many do it, including Green Mountain Energy, Austin Energy, El Paso Electric and San Antonio Public Service.
Green Mountain Energy pays solar customers for 100 percent of the excess energy they feed onto the grid at the retail rate up to 500 kilowatt hours per month. Beyond that threshold, the utility pays 50 percent of the retail value of the electricity.
|Program Type||Property Tax Deduction|
|Technologies||Photovoltaics, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Water Heat, Passive Solar Space Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Wind, Biomass, Storage Technologies, Solar Pool Heating, Anaerobic Digestion|
|Amount||Exemption equal to extra value added to property via solar energy installation|
|Required Documentation||Form 50-123|
|Official Web Site||http://www.window.state.tx.us/|
Under the Texas property tax code, property owners are allowed to exempt the value that a solar-power or other renewable-energy installation adds to the value of the property. So, if a resident added a $30,000 PV-system to their $180,000 property, they would be able to exempt only the appraised value of the system from their property tax. Which would be $30,000 of the $210,000 value of the property after installing the system.
This exemption covers a broad array of solar energy products, including PV, solar thermal power and more. Under the term “solar energy device,” the state includes “the production and distribution of thermal, mechanical, or electrical energy for on-site use, or devices used to store that energy.” Solar may also refer to biomass technologies in Texas.
The exemption only applies for distributed solar installations. If the technology is designed for commercial use and will generate significantly more power than can be used onsite, it’s still subject to the cost method of appraisal.