Why 100% Offset Isn’t Achievable for Most Texas Homes

San Antonio Solar
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San Antonio Solar - an Introduction

Reaching an offset of 100 percent is harder than it looks and sounds. While many Texas homeowners own solar homes, most don’t have 100 percent offset.

To most, the notion of less than 100 percent offset is ludicrous, but there are multiple reasons for it. Some of these reasons include available space for panels, solar not making financial sense to the customer, and utility regulations.

While most Texas solar homes in larger cities like San Antonio don’t have a 100 percent offset, they still save money, and saving something is better than saving nothing.

Factors Impacting San Antonio Energy Production Needs

The energy production needs in Texas are high, but the possible offset for these needs isn’t always 100 percent. The first step to determining the offset possible for a Texas home is to determine its energy needs, which are different for each home.

Several factors help solar companies determine these energy needs. These include the amount of sun in the area, electricity usage of the home, and the type of solar panels installed.

Texas Peak Sun Hours

Peak sun hours are the hours in the day when the sun provides the most ultraviolet rays, which power solar panels. The average peak sun hours in the US is 4.9. In San Antonio, there is an average of 5.05 peak sun hours per day. 

Usage and High Summer Energy Bills

Energy usage is the amount of energy the home uses. In Texas, the average San Antonio home’s usage is about 1,000 kWh each month. Typically Texas homes use the most electricity in the summer because of high demand for air conditioning.

Post-solar-Installation Habits to Increase Offset

One of the best ways to make sure that energy goes further is by practicing energy-conserving habits. Some of these habits include completing high-energy-usage chores when solar panels are producing at their peak hours, turning off lights when they’re not needed, and unplugging unused electronics. Implementing these habits decreases the home’s usage and helps the homeowner optimize the solar power produced during the day. 

Battery Backup and Solar Offset

Another way to increase how far solar will go is to add battery backup. While a home battery helps homeowners store energy for their entire home, there are also emergency battery backup options that help increase the solar offset and provide security during a power outage. As a general rule of thumb for homeowners installing The Tesla Powerwall 2, one battery is needed for every 5-7 kilowatts of solar installed. 

The Impact of Different Solar Panels

Each solar panel has a different wattage. Solar panels that are roughly the same size or smaller, but have a higher wattage, will produce more solar power in less space.

Roof Space in Texas

Having enough space on the roof for solar panels is one of the most important factors to offsetting solar. Homes that have limited space, often have a lower offset or higher wattage solar panels. However, backyard solar panels are an option for most residents in larger Texas cities, like San Antonio.

Solar Offset and Net Metering in Texas

Net Metering and other solar policies in the state, county, and utility company region often play a large roll in solar offset. Texas doesn’t require utilities to provide net metering, so those who don’t live in a regulated utility’s district need to look for a utility that offers net metering.  CPS Energy is one of the biggest utilities in San Antonio, and they provide net metering to solar-powered homeowners.

Electric utilities that pay the full retail rate for excess solar energy put onto the grid during the day have true net metering. Most utilities have a variation of net metering that pays solar customers less per watt for the power they put onto the grid than what they pay to pull electricity from the grid at night. 

Metering that doesn’t allow customers to trade their excess energy during the day straight across the grid means that these customers have to produce more than they need, or purchase battery backup to get the right offset and solar savings for their San Antonio homes.

How Solar Energy Billing Works

Each utility has its own way of tracking and paying customers for excess solar generated by their homes’ systems. Some utilities pay cash at the end of each month, while others pay in credits shown on the monthly bill. Utility companies that use a crediting system either clear the credits at the end of the year or allow them to roll over indefinitely.

BEC Wholesale Fixed Export Credit

Bandera Electric credits customers the wholesale rate for their excess solar power, which means customers receive less than they would owe for pulling the same amount of electricity from the grid. 

CPS Interconnection Agreement

CPS Energy credits customers at the avoided cost rate for their excess solar production. This rate is also less than the customer would owe for the same amount of electricity use. 

Go Solar Group’s Solar Offset Standards

At Go Solar Group, we try to give customers the highest energy offset possible for their homes. We do this by working with our customers to achieve their energy goals.

Sometimes this means installing a smaller system and adding extra solar panels or battery backup later. Sometimes this means filling a roof with as many solar panels as we can so the homeowner can get as close as possible to their home’s energy needs. However, we do not install more panels than what is needed for optimal savings. We won’t sell a system that won’t financially benefit the customer.

Factors Taken Into Consideration

Some of the factors we take into consideration when determining if a home is a good fit for solar are the customer’s credit score, whether they owe taxes, the home’s annual energy consumption (which should be at least 6,000 kWh) and the roof type and its condition. Together these factors play a role in whether solar is worth installing. To learn whether your San Antonio home is a good fit for solar and discover the offset we can offer you, click the link below to visit our main San Antonio, Texas page.

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