How does CoServ’s Certified Solar Installation Program benefit me?
CoServ is aware that many of its Members are interested in installing solar panels. We want to help Members make informed decisions by providing a list of solar installers that CoServ believes will perform quality work in an ethical manner at a fair price.
How much electricity will a solar system produce?
According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s “PVWatts” tool, a typical south-facing solar system in North Texas with full sun exposure (no shading) will produce approximately 1,533 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year for every 1 kilowatt (kW) of system capacity. West and east-facing systems will produce about 15 percent to 20 percent less. North-facing systems will produce over 40 percent less and therefore are not eligible for the CoServ solar rebate.
Can a solar system supply all my home’s electricity needs?
For most Members, solar with proper direction orientation will provide approximately 40 to 50 percent of their home’s electricity, regardless of how large a system is installed. This is because, for most North Texans, a significant portion of a home’s energy usage occurs at night, in the early morning, and in the evening when the sun is not shining brightly or at all. In addition, solar systems have reduced or no production when it’s cloudy or rainy. Installing a larger solar system cannot overcome these limitations. Instead, a larger system will produce more energy when the sun is shining. If the system produces more electricity than your home needs during these times, the excess production will flow to the electric grid rather than the home.
Can I go off the grid with solar panels?
No. The solar system requires grid power to operate properly. In addition, this ensures you have power when the sun is not shining.
Will I still get a CoServ electric bill after my solar system is installed?
Yes, Members will still receive a CoServ bill for a portion of their electricity usage because, in most cases, their solar system will not produce enough power to offset the home’s entire electric consumption. At a minimum, Members will be charged CoServ’s $10 monthly customer charge and the additional $10 monthly distributed generation (DG) fee. In addition, Members will be charged for any energy consumed that is not offset by power produced by the solar system.
Can I put a solar system somewhere else other than my roof?
Yes. If your property is large enough to accommodate a ground-mounted system, and the location is not shaded by trees or other obstructions, then the system will work similarly to a roof-mounted system and will be eligible for the CoServ rebate.
Will I be able to produce power during an outage?
No. The inverter, which is one of the key components of a solar system, needs power continuously to function; therefore you must remain connected to the grid. If the grid goes off during an outage, so does the inverter.
What size solar system do I need?
The size of your solar system should be based on your electricity usage, not on the size of your roof. This allows you to always save the full retail price of the electricity you offset, regardless of what the utility policies are regarding net metering (see net metering questions below). Some solar companies will try to sell you the largest solar system that will fit on your roof because this maximizes their revenue. In many cases, this is more than a homeowner needs, especially if your usage is relatively low.
What is the distributed generation (DG) fee?
CoServ’s retail rate is designed to recover from Members, in a fair and equitable manner, CoServ’s costs to provide electric service according to how those costs are caused by the Members. CoServ’s retail rate includes recovery of fixed costs, such as distribution capacity, metering, billing, and other fixed costs, in addition to the cost of energy. These fixed costs are incurred for all Members, including those with solar. Since CoServ allows net metering of the full retail rate, the DG fee recovers a portion of these fixed costs in a fair and equitable manner.
Will a solar PV system lower my electric bill?
Yes, solar electricity will supply a portion of the electricity used by your home and could lower your bill from CoServ. However, typically you will have either a large upfront cost and/or a financing cost for the solar PV system, so you need to take this into account.
What should I expect to pay for a solar system?
System prices vary by size and technology, as well as by the quality of the components used. In 2017, prices paid by residential CoServ Members ranged mostly between $2,250 and $3,500/kilowatt (DC) of system capacity. Please click here for more information.
What rebates and incentives are available to me?
CoServ is currently offering a rebate of $450 per kilowatt of installed capacity (measured based upon DC kW capacity). For residential Members, the rebate is capped at a maximum of $4,500 (equivalent to 10 kW-DC) per Member. Please note that solar rebates are available only for qualified purchases. Solar rebate funding is limited and rebates will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Once funds are depleted for the year, the rebate program will no longer be available. Please click here for more information and requirements.
Do I have to choose a CoServ Certified Installer to claim the solar rebate?
Yes. To qualify for a CoServ solar rebate, a new solar PV system must be installed by a contractor who has been approved to participate in the CoServ Certified Solar Installation Program. Please click here for more information.
I installed a solar PV system in 2018 before CoServ announced the Certified Solar Installation Program. Can I get the CoServ solar rebate?
Unfortunately, CoServ cannot extend solar rebates to Members who installed solar systems before CoServ’s Solar Installation Program was launched. The solar program is designed to ensure that CoServ has the opportunity to review the design and marketing materials related to the proposed solar system before it is installed on the Member's home. Rebate funds are limited, and they must be reserved for Member PV systems that fully meet the requirements of the CoServ Certified Solar Installation Program.
I installed a solar PV system with a contractor who is not part of the CoServ Certified Solar Installation Program or who did not follow all the requirements of this program. Can I get the CoServ solar rebate?
Unfortunately, no. As noted previously, the solar program is designed to ensure that CoServ has the opportunity to review the design and marketing materials related to the proposed solar system before it is installed on the Member's home. Rebate funds are limited, and they must be reserved for Member PV systems that fully meet the requirements of the CoServ Certified Solar Installation Program.
Does the CoServ rebate affect the amount of the federal tax credit I receive for installing solar?
CoServ’s understanding of the federal tax rules is that the cost of the system used to calculate the tax credit should be net of any rebate provided by your local utility. The CoServ Rebate reduces the net cost of the system. This is based on CoServ's understanding, and is not meant to be tax advice. Please consult your tax professional to learn more and to discuss your specific situation.
Does CoServ finance solar electricity systems?
CoServ does not currently offer any solar financing programs. Please consult with your installer and/or financial institution regarding financing options.
Will my system qualify for a federal income tax credit?
In most cases, residential solar systems installed before January 1, 2020 will qualify for the 30% federal tax credit. This is based on CoServ's understanding, and it not meant to be tax advice. Please consult your tax professional to learn more and to discuss your specific situation.
My installer sent me a check for a credit after installing the system. Is this taxable income?
As with the CoServ Rebate, it should reduce the cost of the system used to calculate the tax credit. CoServ's understanding of the tax rules is that, any credits provided by your solar installer should reduce your net cost of the system that is used to calculate the tax credit. This is based on CoServ's understanding, and it not meant to be tax advice. Please consult your tax professional to learn more and to discuss your specific situation.
How long do solar panels last?
The average solar panel degrades at approximately 0.5 percent per year. A typical solar panel has a 20 -year warranty.
What warranties are normally included with a new solar system?
To qualify for a CoServ solar rebate, the PV modules’ performance must be warrantied for at least 20 years, and the inverter must be warrantied for at least 5 years. In addition, the installer must provide a minimum 10-year warranty for performance and defects in workmanship. These warranties are typical within the industry.
Is the federal tax credit refundable?
CoServ's understanding of the tax rules is that the federal tax credit is NOT refundable. This means that, although the tax credit available may be 30% of the net cost of the installation, it may not reduce your net income tax liability below $0. Any amount in excess of your net income tax liability is carried forward to offset the net income tax liability in future tax years in lieu of being refundable directly to you. This is based on CoServ's understanding, and it not meant to be tax advice. Please consult your tax professional to learn more and to discuss your specific situation.