Yesterday afternoon during the quarterly meeting, Jim Hudson discussed some of the details regarding the passage of Texas Senate Bill 545 by the senate last week. Below is a summary of the bill and the implications to potential PV customers.
First, please understand this bill still must pass through the house and be signed by the governor in order to become law. During this process the language and amounts could all be changed, and the governor could refuse to sign the bill even after passage by both the house and senate.
Finally, if and when the bill is passed by the house and senate and signed by the governor, this bill will not be enacted until the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) goes through a rulemaking session and creates a program and processes to implement this new law. This process may take up to a year from now to implement.
Everyone should be very encouraged in the direction Texas is taking to help incentivize and stimulate the solar industry in Texas. I do want to make sure everyone knows that if you are considering purchasing solar that you should not delay purchases due to this proposed legislation. With the potential for this incentive to be provided by the State of Texas panel prices may increase with the increase in demand for solar. This would possibly create a net zero savings for the solar customer should they choose to wait until the time this law is enacted.
Texas SB 545
Distributed Solar Generation Rebate
All deregulated areas must offer a program that is defined by the PUC.
The below is the bill's proposal for what the rebate should look like, but could be changed by the PUC before implementation.
5 Year Rebate Program that is reduced by at least 5% annually
Year 1 Proposed Rebate Lavels
Residential - $2.40 / Watt
Commercial - $1.50 / Watt
Industrial - $1.00 / Watt
Coops and Munis (larger than 500,000 MWhrs)
All co-ops and municipally owned utilities must administer a program to increase the amount of solar within the state.
Customers must have access to incentives.
The legislation does not dictate nor will the PUC dictate what these rebate levels will be.
Homeowner Association Limitations on Solar
Language is included to eliminate the ability for HOA's to restrict a homeowners ability to place solar on their roof or within a fenced area.
Publication of REP's Power Buyback Offers
REPs will be required to public on PowerToChoose.org their offered buyback rates for solar surplus generation.
The buyback rate must be at a Fair Market Value as determined by the PUC. The FMV cannot be less than 80% of the customer's retail rate.
As you can see it does hold many benefits for Texas electricity customers beyond just a solar rebate. The opportunity to buy solar is still now before the demand forces the panel prices back up. If you haven't read the full solar bill it is available under the files link on the website. Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions.