What Is the Austin Energy Solar Rebate and How Does It Work?
The benefits of home solar extend beyond the system owners. Rooftop solar provides clean energy with zero additional land use, and can be stored in residential batteries to strengthen the grid during high demand and outage events.
It makes sense, then, that a publicly-owned utility like Austin Energy would incentive rooftop solar adoption — and that’s exactly what they do with a rebate worth $2,500 for residential solar installations.
The Austin Energy solar rebate is among the highest-value incentives offered by a utility, but it takes a little legwork to claim. In this article, we’ll explain how this rebate works and exactly how to claim it.
How does the Austin Energy solar rebate work?
The Austin Energy solar rebate is a $2,500 residential solar incentive available to homeowners that install qualifying solar systems on their homes. In order to qualify for the rebate, the homeowner must:
- Be a residential customer of Austin Energy
- Complete an online solar education course
- Select an Austin Energy Participating Contractor to install your project
- Meet size and shading requirements
- Apply for the rebate and receive confirmation from Austin Energy before install
It’s worth noting this rebate only applies to new, purchased solar systems. It can’t be applied retroactively to existing systems or claimed for solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs).
That may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through — but it’s really quite simple and worth every penny of the $2,500 to claim this rebate. Let’s take a closer look at each step.
Screenshot from Austin Energy solar education course.
Austin Energy solar education course
The first step to qualify for the Austin Energy solar rebate is completing a brief online education course, known as Austin Solar Energy 101, and passing a 10-question quiz.
The education is short slideshow that covers the basics of home solar including:
- Industry terms
- Sizing your system
- Value of Solar billing (this is important to understand!)
- Tips for claiming your rebate
Requiring an education course in order to claim solar incentives is pretty rare, but it’s actually a great idea. Installing solar panels isn’t something most people do every day, and it’s important to have a good understanding of this investment.
Plus, there’s a 10-question quiz on the rebate program application, which is quite easy if you take a few minutes to read through the education course. Once you complete the quiz, you’ll receive a Solar Education Confirmation Number. Keep this number handy!
Selecting an Austin Energy Participating Contractor
The next crucial step toward claiming the $2,500 rebate is selecting an eligible solar installer. Austin Energy provides a list of around 65 contractors that adhere to their code of conduct and have been trained on their incentive program.
Austin Energy recommends gathering and comparing quotes from at least three installers — and so do we. Comparing multiple quotes gives you a better sense of the pricing, equipment, and warranties available in the marketplace, and weeds out scammers. An eligible installer will help you determine if your roof meets the size and shading requirements for the rebate, and help you size the solar system for maximum savings.
Austin Energy provides phone numbers for the eligible solar rebate program installers, but you can also easily compare quotes from eligible installers online right on solar.com.
Applying for the solar rebate
Once you’ve selected an eligible installer, provide them with your Solar Education Confirmation Number. Your installer will apply for the solar rebate on your behalf along with a Customer Agreement Form (CAF) signed by you.
If the application is approved, you will receive a confirmation letter and you can proceed with the installation knowing you qualify for the rebate.
Once the installation is complete, Austin Energy will inspect the system, install a new meter, and your solar company will turn the system on. After all of that is complete, you will receive your $2,500 rebate!
What are the other incentives for solar panels in Austin, Texas?
Perhaps the best part about the Austin Energy solar rebate is that it’s the second-best solar incentive available in Austin. The best incentive, in terms of dollar value, is the federal solar tax credit worth 30% of what you pay for a solar system. Better yet, these two incentives can be combined to substantially reduce the cost of a solar system and, by extension, your energy costs.
Here’s an example of how combining the Austin Energy solar rebate and the solar tax credit would work for a 5 kW system with a gross price of $25,000.
|Cost||Price per watt|
|Gross cost||$25,000||$5 per watt|
|Austin Energy solar rebate||-$2,500|
|Price paid||$22,500||$4.5 per watt|
|Solar tax credit||-$6,750|
|Net cost||$15,750||$3.15 per watt|
It’s worth mentioning that the 30% solar tax credit applies to the cost of the system after the rebate is applied, since that is technically what you would pay for the system even if the rebate arrives after installation.
Texas solar property tax exemption
In addition to the incentives mentioned above, Texas has a property tax exemption that applies to 100% of the home value increase as a result of installing solar and other clean energy equipment.
So, installing a solar system will likely increase your property value, but you don’t have to pay property tax on that added value. This is an often overlooked and underappreciated solar incentive that really pays off when it’s time to sell your home.
In order to claim the property tax exemption, you must fill out Form 50-123 and file it with your country appraisal office.
Additional Austin Energy rebates
In addition to the Residential Solar Rebate program, Austin Energy also offers incentives for energy efficient appliances, home improvements, and — as of January 1, 2023 — electric bikes, scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles.
The bottom line
The Austin Energy solar rebate is among the highest value incentives offered by a utility provider. When combined with the 30% solar tax credit, it can substantially reduce the cost of a home solar system and lead to major energy cost savings.
There are a few hoops to jump through in order to qualify, but they are well worth every penny of the $2,500 incentive. In order to claim this incentive, it’s necessary — and helpful — to work with an Austin Energy Participating Contractor.