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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Aug 16, 2013 2:03 PM Flag

    Texas claims cheapest solar installations, as prices drop nationwide


    Texas claims cheapest solar installations, as prices drop nationwide

    August 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm by Zain Shauk

    The cost of solar panels is continuing to fall, making them competitive with the costs of some electricity rates.

    A new report from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory showed that the cost of buying and installing solar panels fell 14 percent between 2011 and 2012 for the average residential system.

    The national median price for a typical residential solar system was about $5.30 per watt of power generating capacity installed in 2012, a figure that has fallen with higher production and sales of panels worldwide, the July 2013 report said.

    Texas has the lowest median price at about $3.90 per watt of power generating capacity installed, without taking into account any incentives or rebates, the report said.

    The lowest costs are in Austin, where the municipal utility offers a $2 per watt rebate for residents who install solar panels, which help add power to the electric grid during periods of peak demand, said Garrett Gordy, owner of Texas Solar Outfitters.

    Solar: After a slow rise, solar starts to shine

    There are no rebates or incentives specific to Houston, though residents here do benefit from a federal tax incentive of 30 percent of the purchase and installation costs for a system, Gordy said.

    Gordy’s company sells and installs solar panels for less than $4 per watt, with systems often costing around $3.60 per watt, he said.

    Most residential buyers get systems averaging about 6 kilowatts, Gordy said.

    For a 10-kilowatt system, which would be more than enough power for most well-insulated homes, the up-front cost would be about $36,000 in Houston. After taking into account the federal tax incentive of about $10,800 and electric plans that allow customers to sell unused power back to electricity providers, the panels pay for themselves within 12 years, Gordy said.

    The average Texas household pays $147.32 for electricity ea

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