Texas business owners are reaping long-term free electricity thanks to the emerging popularity of solar energy. They often qualify for up to 3 levels of tax benefits: federal incentives, MACRs (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System), and retail energy provider rebates. As a result, building owners are recapturing their solar investment in as little as three years, with an average of five years, according to industry observers.
Solar power systems are developing a broader presence as they top commercial buildings and residences across Texas. Business owners recognize the lucrative opportunity to eliminate their monthly power expense while simultaneously making money on roof their space. The financials make sense: they can reduce their energy overhead and potentially add an additional revenue stream.
Studies have shown that Texas is the sixth-largest solar state in the nation, yet the future holds even brighter potential for the emerging technology – Texas is the third-fastest growing solar state, trailing only California and Pennsylvania. Texas ranked 3rd Nationwide in solar jobs 2017, and there’s enough solar potential in Texas to power the world twice over*.
“The Texas power grid is often experiencing electricity demands beyond its limits, so customers are turning to solar,” says Jim Cushman, vice president of Sales for Fort Worth-based Current Solar. “Traditional power reserves are at historical lows, thus indicating higher chances of grid failure during the hot summer months.”
Couple the aging power grid with consistently rising retail energy costs (up 67 percent over the last 15 years and projected 4-5 percent per year over the next several years), and solar power finally makes sense not only for the environment, but also your finances.
Texas represents the “Wild, Wild West” in the battle for solar energy. The sun-generated technology has earned less than 1 percent of the current market share. Coal and nuclear remain the two largest resources, although each has challenges with environmental regulations and sustainability.
“Oddly enough, energy providers are welcoming solar to the market as it helps meet the demand of an already over-taxed and 100 year old grid system”. Cushman adds, “Traditional energy resources are declining, thus opening the way for solar energy. Just this past year alone, four coal plants were decommissioned in Texas, resulting in lower total available capacity. Solar is the resource that will help guide our future.”
A report by research group Wood MacKenzie and the Solar Energy Industries Association states that the Lone Star State is projected to install over 4,000 megawatts of solar power over the next handful of years – more than tripling the current solar capacity.
Meanwhile, an emerging-energy publication called Quartz reports that California generated over 10 percent of its total 2018 energy via solar, and that solar generated an impressive 50 percent of that state’s total demand on a sunny day last March. Yes, 50 percent. Additionally, in 2020, all new construction must include solar energy as mandated by the state of California.
Most important to building owners is the affordability and quick payback of solar energy. The Commercial Capital Asset Depreciation program has changed from five years to an Accelerated Bonus One-Year option. Match that with a 30 percent Federal Solar Tax Credit (which declines to 26 percent in 2020) and Oncor Electric’s incentives, many businesses are recouping their entire investment within just three years.
After the “break-even” period, solar customers have the potential of free solar electricity for the next 25 years plus, all under manufacturer warranty.
The case for solar focuses on Texas’ continued growth at a rapid rate, with the fastest population growth in the United States. The sustained growth rate is overrunning the capacity of traditional electricity resources – coal and nuclear – which have been the trusted sources for decades.
Cushman recognizes the ideal prospects for solar. “On the commercial side, the companies that will benefit the most are those that require the most power, because more of their future power will be free. These include cold storage facilities, warehouses, mini-storage facilities, hotels/motels, shopping malls and strip malls. We also have helped homeowners save dramatically on their electric bills.”
John Fletcher of Fletcher is a public relations and community relations consultant. He can be reached at email@example.com or at www.thefletch.org