Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Texas
Despite having some of the highest electricity prices in the US, Texas has made great strides in renewable energy over the last couple of decades. It also produces the most energy from wind with a total capacity of 16,000 MW and ranks second in the country for the number of jobs created for the renewable industry. The state has all the resources it needs, including plenty of sunshine, to benefit from a wide range of green technologies.
There are over 40 different wind power projects across the state of Texas and farmers have long been allowed to lease their land to energy companies, creating valuable revenue and helping to build a sizeable infrastructure. The largest installation is the Roscoe Wind Farm that has a 781 MW capacity delivered by 634 wind turbines. West Texas has also been at the forefront of energy storage which could revolutionize wind energy, allowing generators to save electricity for future use when the wind levels fall and meet peak demands.
Not surprisingly, Texas has the highest potential for solar power in the country and there are several large installations including the Alamo 1 Solar Farm with a capacity of 41 MW. The state has a thriving solar industry with over 400 countries employing 7,000 workers and a total installed capacity so far of 534 MW. It currently ranks tenth in the US for solar PV.
Texas has a good deal of biomass resources and 6 power plants producing over 200 MW including the Aspen Biomass Power Plant which has a capacity of 44 MW. The state has a number of large scale hydroelectric dams the largest of which is the Mansfield Dam in Travis with a capacity of 108 MW.
Solar PV Incentives in Texas
The incentives for solar in Texas make it an attractive proposition for both residential, commercial and municipal installation. First of all, there is the 30% Federal Tax Rebate to take advantage of as well as other state provision such as the Garland Power and Light Solar Rebate Program and the AEP Texas North Company SMART Source Solar PV Rebate Program. There are a range of low cost loans and grants available for both residential and corporate installations.
Solar PV Case Study in Texas
The cost of solar PV is some of the lowest in the country and you can choose to either buy outright or enter into a leasing agreement where you get free installation in exchange for handing over your incentives and the profit made from the panels. The cost of a 5 kW array is $16,250 and once you take off the 30% tax rebate you can expect to pay off any investment within 14 years, achieving a profit over 25 years of some $14,500. You should also expect to increase the sale value of your home by a similar amount.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Texas
Because of the hot climate, solar thermal is an economical and popular option for Texans. Cheaper to install than solar PV, it can provide hot water all year round. Installations benefit from utility company rebate programs such as Xcel Energy Residential and Hard-to-Reach Standard Offer Program as well as property tax exemptions for both business and residential.
Small Hydro Incentives in Texas
Despite being a state with such high levels of sunshine, Texas has great potential for hydroelectric installations, particularly micro hydro which can benefit remote communities and agricultural land. Projects benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and local tax relief including the City of Houston Property Tax Abatement for Green Commercial Buildings.
Geothermal Incentives in Texas
As with many other states, geothermal has great possibilities in Texas. Most of the utility companies in the state provide rebate incentives which are aimed at technologies such as ground source heat pumps including the CenterPoint Energy Commercial and Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs and the United Cooperative Services Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program.
Biomass Incentives in Texas
Texas has invested in a number of biomass power plants and there are incentives for farming communities to exploit anaerobic digestion. Residential and commercial take up of biomass boilers and wood chip burners is helped by incentives such as the Oncor Electric Delivery Commercial and Industrial Rebate Program.
Wind Power Incentives in Texas
There is plenty of scope for the construction of large scale wind farms as well as smaller projects, both of which benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and property tax exemptions. For remote communities and agricultural businesses, the ability to lease land to energy companies or take advantage to fund private projects is highly important. While the installation of a wind turbine is one of the most expensive forms of renewable energy, the return on investment remains good.
Texas has one of the most even mixes of renewable initiatives in place both on a federal and state level with many residential properties opting for solar PV as well as geothermal heat pumps. Blessed with all the natural resources it needs, there’s no wonder that Texas is currently one of the leading states when it comes to renewable energy.
You can find out more about renewable energy incentives for the state of Texas on the DSIRE website.