Explaining San Antonio Solar Calculator Estimates
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Although the top producer of wind energy, San Antonio is known for being in a sunshine state. In fact, San Antonio panels at an average tilt at latitude (ATaL) receive an average of 5.21 kWh/m2/day.
Whether solar is a good option for you, however, is dependent on a variety of factors. Solar calculators will give you a better idea of what is possible.
What a Solar Calculator Does
Solar calculators look at data in your area and then generate an estimated value. Each calculator is dependent on the area it is geared toward. Utility policy in these areas plays a large role in affordability.
In San Antonio, the main utility is CPS Energy, but there are other utilities out there. Each utility has a different solar policy — this directly impacts solar savings.
Go Solar Group’s solar savings calculator estimates solar savings for three utilities. These include CPS, GVEC and Bandera Electric Cooperative.
CPS Energy Solar Savings Factors
CPS has a couple of things that make solar a potential option for its customers. They have a net metering program that makes solar reasonable and a rebate program to make up for the rest.
CPS Net Metering
At the end of each billing period, CPS pays solar customers the avoided cost rate for their excess solar. This means that solar customers get paid what CPS calculates they are saving.
The price you pay for power pulled off the grid, however, is the retail price — the marked-up price generated by the utility. This means, to offset power pulled off the grid, you would have to produce more than you use.
CPS Solar Rebate Cap
Net metering, however, isn’t the only payment method that CPS has in place. They also have a capped rebate for solar installations. Each general installation is able to receive up to $3,000 dollars. As of February 2019, there was $11.6 million left of the $14 million allocated to general installations.
GVEC and Solar Savings
GVEC is a cooperative and therefore is not required to enter the deregulated market in Texas. Meaning customers serviced by GVEC don’t have the option to switch to another utility.
This may seem bad, but cooperatives are run by people who were voted for by the community. This means that they try hard to make their services as beneficial as possible for the customer. This is why GVEC has both a net metering program and a solar rebate for generating customers.
GVEC Net Metering Policy
The net metering policy at GVEC pays the current renewable energy rate. This is often the avoided cost of electricity generation for the company.
Solar Rebate for GVEC Customers
On top of getting paid for excess generation, GVEC solar customers can also qualify for a rebate. Currently, this rebate pays $0.75 per watt. To qualify, documentation and installation need to be complete by March 31, 2019.
Because GVEC is focused on what is best for their customers, it is likely that a new rebate will come. It is not known for sure, however.
Solar and Bandera Electric Cooperative
Bandera Electric is also a cooperative that looks out for its customers. Bandera credits the avoided wholesale cost for excess generation. Although this may not seem like much, Texas utilities aren’t required to pay for customer generation.
Wholesale is less than the retail price charged for power pulled off the gird. In 2013 the retail cost was $0.08 and the avoided wholesale cost was $0.05. To counter this, solar generation is calculated to produce a little more than you would pull off the grid in a year.
Why San Antonio Residents Use Solar Calculators
Solar calculators give interested customers a better idea of what to expect. They can’t, however, take into account all aspects of solar cost and savings. This is why solar calculators specialize in a few aspects of an installation.
Solar Panel Cost Calculator
A solar panel cost calculator gives an estimated cost per panel. This gives customers a better idea of what they can expect to pay. These estimates don’t take into account all the possible panel options.
This means that the estimate may be accurate for a 280-watt panel, but not for any other panel. This also doesn’t take into account that each panel brand, and type, are priced differently. This is fine if you are only looking at the cost per panel for one type of panel, but not if you are comparing prices.
Solar Panel Calculator
A solar panel calculator determines the number of panels you will need for your home. These calculators, however, don’t account for a couple of significant factors.
First, this calculator isn’t factoring in all panels. So, although you may need 18 panels if they fit their criteria, you will need less if you use a panel that can produce more.
Another problem is that the calculators normally calculate from an estimated power bill. This is easy for the potential customer to find, but it doesn’t tell you the price per watt they paid. This means that the usage of the customer could be off.
Last, of all, this calculator doesn’t account for shade. Your home may need a certain amount of panels, but that doesn’t mean you have the space for them.
Solar Power Calculator: kWh
Solar power calculators look at how much power your array produces. When compared to your home usage and your utility rates, you can determine if your system is large enough. Although this is great, it isn’t very helpful to those that don’t have solar yet.
This is because, in order to determine production, you need information that isn’t typically on hand. This includes the type of panel you are using, how many panels are being used, and the optimal placement for them.
Solar Savings Calculator
A solar savings calculator has its own flaws as well. It doesn’t look at the specifics of every array and utility, but it can be a good base. This is especially true if you are using a solar-company-specific savings calculator, as it is giving you an estimate of what you can save with their products in the areas that they serve.
This is why Go Solar Group has created solar savings calculators for each of the markets that we serve. We want our customers to know how much solar is going to save them when they go through us.
Go Solar Group’s Texas Solar Savings Calculator Works
The data used in a solar calculator is important. It determines if the calculator is accurate and relevant to your situation. Go Solar Group uses several algorithms to determine San Antonio savings.
Solar Product Specific Algorithms
The easiest estimate for the customer to come up with is the average electric bill. This amount is then connected to an average amount of panels needed for this monthly bill.
The Cost of the Array
The amount of panels needed is dependent on the wattage of the panel and usage of the home. The price is determined by the number of 280-watt panels needed for an average energy bill in Texas.
Solar Loan Calculation
Because Go Solar Group doesn’t offer a leasing option, the only other cost metric calculated is a solar loan. To calculate the interest rate, interest-only months and loan months are multiplied by the array cost.
Local Solar Incentives
One incentive calculated into every Go Solar Group calculator is the federal tax credit. This credit is currently still at 0.3 percent. Unfortunately, Texas doesn’t have state solar incentives.
Local Utility Solar Factors
The average utility rate increase for Texas is taken into account, as is the average rate for utility power in Texas.
These two factors are then used to determine how much you would have spent over the next 20 years. The reason 20 years is chosen is that this is the average warranty for a solar array.
How Solar Savings Are Calculated
The first savings calculation is the cost of solar subtracted by the state and federal incentives. Once this is complete, the total savings can be calculated.
To find the savings, the calculator then does a simple subtraction problem. The estimated cost of electricity is subtracted from the estimated cost of solar.
Although a solar savings calculator will give you a starting point, it isn’t the same as a quote. Let us take the time to calculate and determine what an array would look like for your home with an assessment. These are custom designed and hand-delivered by a professional, who is able to explain anything you don’t understand.