The price of solar energy systems continues to drop across the country and perhaps nowhere as dramatically as Austin, Texas. According to the Solar Industry Mag, Austin is now a top 20 city for solar in the U.S. While prices continue to decline across the country, generous incentives still exist for those who purchase a system today. One of the largest is the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC offers those who install a residential solar system a 30 percent tax credit, and was recently extended by Congress. Additionally, states have their own set of incentives. Qualifying residents of Austin, Texas can apply the Austin Energy Rebate to the cost of installing a system, and then benefit from monthly saving with the Value of Solar Tariff.
How much do solar panels cost in Austin in 2017?
As of the beginning of 2017, the average cost for solar panels in Austin was $3.22 per watt. Since the average system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), that means the average cost of a solar system in Austin is $16,100 before tax incentives like the federal solar ITC.
Though this price would be appealing to most homeowners across the U.S., it’s even a very affordable price when compared to the rest of the state of Texas. Because of strong market activity and competition among installers in the area, Austin has some of the best prices for solar in the nation.
Texas solar pricing table: Austin vs. state and national average cost
|SYSTEM SIZE||NATIONAL AVERAGE COST (Post ITC)||Texas AVERAGE COST (Post ITC)||Austin AVERAGE COST (Post ITC)|
*Note – prices in this table have the 30% Federal solar subsidy already included
The above table, which cites pricing data from solar quotes offered to homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace in the past year, offers a comparison of national, state (Texas), and city (Austin) pricing for solar panel systems. The data illustrates the large disparity between typical solar prices in Texas and the rest of the country.
When looking at the solar industry as a whole, Texas is without a doubt one of the most affordable places to install solar panels. Even more so, the advantage for homeowners is further outlined when factoring in the major solar incentive provided by Austin Energy that reduces the cost of solar in addition to the federal tax credit.
You are only eligible for the Austin Energy Rebate if you own your solar power system and you use an Austin Energy approved installer to go solar. The EnergySage Solar Marketplace can help you find an approved installer and compare quotes so you get the best deal when you go solar. The Austin Energy Rebate pays you $0.50 for every watt in the size of your system, up to 50% of the total cost of installing your solar system. If you install a 6 kilowatt (kW) system you would receive a rebate of $3,000. Check out how this great solar incentive changes the economics of solar for Austin Energy customers in Texas:
Austin solar pricing table: Austin Energy solar rebate
|System Size||Austin Average Cost of Solar||Austin Average Cost of Solar (with Austin Energy rebate)|
*Values in this table include the 30% discount from the Federal solar tax subsidy (ITC)
The Value of Solar Tariff or VOST program is open to those who own or lease their solar system. VOST pays you for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity your solar energy system produces at a rate of 10.6 cents per kWh. You still pay your utility for the electricity you consume at standard residential rates, but you also get a credit on your bill for the amount you produce each month. If your production makes more money than your consumption for the month your extra credits roll over. At the end of the year your unused credits rollover to the next year.
How All The Incentives Work Together in Austin, Texas
- Up Front Cost of a System – Austin Energy Rebate = The Initial Cost of Your System
- The Initial Cost of Your System – ITC 30% Tax Credit = The Final Cost of Your System
How You Save Money In Austin, Texas Monthly
- Your Monthly kWh Consumption x Your Residential Electricity Rate = What You Pay the Utility
- Your Monthly kWh Production x 10.6 cents = What The Utility Pays You for Energy Production
Three tips for solar shoppers in Austin
Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the best solar contractors in Austin that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $2,000 or more on their solar panel installation.
The biggest installers typically don’t offer the best price
The bigger isn’t always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.
Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
National-scale installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.
There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.
For any Austin homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.