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How to Get CPS to Pay You to Put Solar Panels on Your House

How to Get CPS to Pay You to Put Solar Panels on Your House

Everyone knows about the Alamo, the Spurs and Fiesta, but one of San Antonio’s most cherished traditions happens every year during the summer.

That tradition is the grimace we all make when we open up the mailbox and see the CPS bill. We’re blessed to have some pretty cheap energy here, but that doesn’t change the fact that it costs a pretty penny to keep the house cool during those 100 degree-plus days.

Aside from turning up your thermostat and just sweating it out, how can you beat the heat?

By making the sun work for you.

Thanks to a hefty federal rebate and generous incentives from CPS, installing solar panels on your house costs less than you might think. It allows you to collect energy and, essentially, run that A/C for free all summer long. If you generate enough electricity, you can even sell it to CPS for a profit. Here’s how to do it.

Money back: 2015-16 federal solar panel tax rebate

The federal government offers a tax rebate of 30 percent of the cost of installation on your solar panels. That includes everything from labor to wiring and assembly. It’s valid through the end of next year.

There is no cap on the rebate, and in fact, if your rebate exceeds the amount of your 2015 tax liability, it will roll forward to the 2016 year. Congress hasn’t decided yet whether or not to extend it past 2016, but it’s likely that your rebate could roll even further forward.

Money back: CPS solar panel rebate

CPS offers two tiers of rebates for residential solar panels. If you add panels with an approved contractor, your rebate is $1.60 per AC Watt up to $25,000 or a 50 percent cap, whichever is less. Panels installed with nonapproved contractors are eligible for reimbursements of $1.30 per AC Watt.

These don’t apply to installations with leased equipment. It’s a reimbursement for the cost of a purchased system.

Money back: Sell your power back to CPS

To get the rebate for your solar cells, your house will still have to be plugged into the grid. Bad for survivalists, but good for people who produce lots of energy.

That’s because, if your solar cell system is big enough, the extra energy you collect can be sold back to CPS. You’ll need some extra equipment, and there’s an additional set of guidelines for homeowners who are interested in doing this, so make sure to read up on the details.

Nothing better than getting a paycheck for living under the sun, though.

CPS approved contractors

You can use anyone you like, but you’ll get the best rebate when working with a CPS-approved contractor.