Ready to move to the next step of getting quotes and choosing a solar energy system installer? Fantastic! First, you should know that if you plan to have your system grid-tied, which most are, you will need to work with a retail electric provider and an installer. The retail electric provider - commonly referred to as an REP - sets your electricity rates and will be your direct contract for electricity charges and services, while the installer - also referred to as the contractor or developer - will install the system. To maximize cost benefits from your solar system, it is recommended to research which REP and installer will be best suited for your needs. While Texas does not have any specific licensing requirements, there are several resources available to help make sure you select a reputable installer and that your solar installation performs as expected. Aways remember to get at least 3 quotes before committing to a company.
There are more than 100 REPs operating in Texas’ competitive electricity market, each of which offer customers slightly different rates and incentives. As a prospective customer with solar, you should contact your current and other REPs to ask about their rates and whether they have a program in place to purchase your excess energy; also referred to as out-flow. A useful tool to compare REP offerings is the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ Power to Choose website. Their Available Purchase Offers search tool can help you find REPs offering buy-back programs in your area. For more information, including what you need to know about signing an interconnection agreement with the transmission and distribution utility in your region, visit Power to Choose's Selling Renewable Energy page.
One of the most important steps in going solar is choosing a trusted installer. Even though Texas doesn't have specific licensing requirements, there are several steps you can take to select a reputable installer so your solar installation performs as expected.
Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA)
SEIA provides a Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power that offers advice on financing solar systems and selecting a solar installer. The guide also includes key questions to ask solar professionals during the process.
Texas Solar Energy Society
The Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES) provides a brief guide to choosing an installer. They recommend a five-step process (similar to the above) and stress the importance of checking with your insurance provider to see if extreme weather damage (ex: hail) to solar panels can be covered.
Icons courtesy of Arthur Shlain, Gregor Cresnar, IYIKON, and H Alberto Gongora from Noun Project.