San Antonio Renewable Energy Act and Credits
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The Public Utility Regulatory Act is Title 2 of Texas’s Public Utility Code, which pertains to solar power in that area. This section details the restructuring of San Antonio’s electricity market.
In 2005, Senate Bill 20 amended the Public Utility Regulatory Act. As a result, Texas’s renewable energy goals increased to 10,000 Megawatts by 2025.
In 2007, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) added additional power lines to support increased renewable energy. Although Texas has already met this goal, Texas utilities still use RECs and the trading program.
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
While the basic concept is the same, the measurement systems of renewable energy have different names across the United States. Some states use portfolio energy credits, while others use energy certificates. RECs are the renewable energy measurement system in Texas.
In 2000, the PUCT appointed ERCOT as the regulator and distributor of the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) trading program. Each REC equals one megawatt-hour of electricity.
Texas has RECs divided into categories of renewable energy. These categories include biomass, wind, hydro, landfill, gas and solar.
Texas REC Trading Program
Some of the common questions about the REC trading program are who it is open to and how it works. The Texas REC trading program is open to anyone that wants to buy or sell RECs. ERCOT sets the yearly REC requirement for each utility through a formula in the protocol section of the trading program. Each REC lasts three years. After this point, the REC no longer holds any value.
Oftentimes homeowners participating in the Texas REC trading program either sell their credits to their utility or purchase credits from the utility. Participating in a utility renewable energy program generally costs more than regular energy. Purchasing residential solar makes more financial sense for those that can qualify when compared to using a power purchase agreement (PPA).
Renewable Energy Credit Trading Through CPS
In exchange for the RECs that a residential solar array would receive, CPS Energy offers a solar rebate to its customers. Residential systems that qualify receive $2,500 per project. Homeowners who use locally manufactured and solar panels receive an extra $500.
Commercial solar customers can receive $0.60 per watt for systems under 25 kW and $0.40 per watt for systems over 25 kW, and an additional $0.10 per watt for installing local solar panels. Incentives are capped at 50 percent of the project cost. Homeowners who use non-local installers receive 75 percent of these rebates.
Qualifying for CPS Energy’s Solar Rebate
To qualify for this incentive, customers need to own their system and pay less than $4 per panel. They also need to install more than 1 kW of power on a permanent structure.
Customers Who Can’t Qualify for Solar
Customers who can’t qualify for a residential solar install can still participate in solar credit trading. For an additional cost, CPS customers can join others in using renewable energy to power their homes through CPS Energy’s community solar program, called RooflessSolar.