Texas Solar Energy Exceeds Parity via Solar City Program
Texas' first unlimited solar buyback program has achieved a significant cost breakthrough through a SolarCity/MP2 Energy that offers solar-generated electricity to Texas Homeowners for less than utility power without local incentives. Customers that sign up for SolarCity service and for electricity service from MP2 will receive full credit for all the solar electricity they provide to the utility grid.
Known as full "net metering," the practice is common in most of the U.S., but available for the first time in Texas exclusively through this partnership. This program will initially be available to qualified homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with expansion to additional markets expected later this year.
Under the program, SolarCity will install solar panels to provide solar electricity to Texas homeowners, and homeowners will sign up with MP2 for any additional electricity needs. MP2 will track customers' solar energy production and consumption every month. Customers that produce more than they consume will be credited at the full retail value for excess production, including transmission and distribution service charges.
Most retail electricity providers in Texas limit the credits for solar power produced—typically up to 500 kWh per month—or require them to forfeit any unused solar power at the end of the month. There will not be a cap for this program and customers will be able to carry forward any excess generation to subsequent monthly bills until the customer can fully utilize it for the year.
Texas is the nation's largest energy producer and is among its top five energy consumers per capita, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Texas residents have traditionally enjoyed electricity prices below the national average, and solar power adoption in the state has largely been limited to areas where local incentives drive down the cost of solar electricity.
"With an average of 240 sunny days per year, Texas is often considered a sleeping giant when it comes to its potential for solar power, and unlocking this state has huge implications for the solar industry at large," says Jeff Starcher, chairman and CEO of MP2 Energy. "To date, solar has only worked where there are local incentives. With this new partnership, we are making solar a practical option for residential customers in Texas."Customers will be allowed to lock in a fixed rate for 12 or 24 months, as well as terminate their contracts without fees or penalties.