Frequently Asked Questions
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- How much does it cost?
Nothing, in fact you will receive a $0.03 credit from CPS Energy on your bill for every kilowatt-hour that your panels generate. An average residential customer will save about 20-30% on their monthly electricity bill, without paying anything!
- I heard about this rooftop solar program. How does it work?
You’ll let the CPS Energy partner, PowerFin, know that you’re interested by filling out your information in the form on this website. PowerFin will do a desktop review to figure out if your house is a good candidate for solar.
The review process will be on a rolling basis as hosts apply to the program. Once your home is evaluated, PowerFin will contact you to let you know if your home is a good candidate. If it is, the rest of the review process should take about 3 – 4 weeks to determine if you’ve been selected as a SolarHost.
After that, it will take about 4 – 5 weeks to get the proper permits and then 3-4 days to install the system on your roof. Once everything is installed and approved, you’ll start generating electricity which will be sold to CPS Energy for use by the community. In exchange, each month you’ll receive a credit from CPS on your electric bill of $0.03 for every kilowatt-hour that your panels generate, resulting in average monthly electricity bill savings of 20-30%.
- How can I know if my roof is eligible for the program?
Each roof will be evaluated by the PowerFin team. The initial review will be done using satellite imagery to assess roof orientation and shading. If the initial factors look good, then a PowerFin representative will contact you to set up an on-site evaluation.
- What are the benefits to me?
There are a couple of benefits to you as a SolarHost. First, you will see a credit on your bill for the electricity that the panels on your roof generate. That means a lower monthly bill for you. In addition, by being a host, you are helping CPS Energy and our city meet important renewable energy goals that keep our city running for generations to come!
- Are rental properties allowed to be part of the program?
Yes, rental properties are allowed in the program. The landlord/property owner must submit the application, support the program and understand that the host credit will go to the CPS account holder (tenant paying the electricity bill) for the property hosting the system. At this time we cannot transfer the host credit to a different property.
- What happens if there are problems with the panels after they are installed? Who is responsible for maintenance?
Powerfin is responsible for all the maintenance and upkeep for the system. You don’t have to lift a finger; PowerFin will take care of everything.
- Can my homeowner association (HOA) prohibit me from having solar panels?
HOAs cannot block homeowners from installing solar panels and thanks to Texas House Bill 362 and Texas Senate Bill 1626, homeowners have the right to have solar panels on their homes without resistance from their HOAs. That said, you still should contact your HOA to let them know you plan to have solar panels installed on your home. SolarHost can provide standard form documents to provide to your HOA.
- How much of a credit will I get on my bill?
You will be credited $0.03 for each kilowatt hour that your panels generate. An average homeowner saves about 20-30% on their monthly electricity bill, all for free!
- How long will it take to complete my installation?
Once we examine your application, you should expect 3-6 weeks to move through the evaluation process. This depends on when the on-site evaluation can be scheduled. If your home qualifies for the SolarHost program, the permitting and approval process for the rooftop solar system should take about 5 – 6 weeks. (8-12 weeks total time)
- How long do the panels stay on my roof?
Most solar panels have a 25-year warranty, and if you are approved for the SolarHost San Antonio program, we will install panels that will stay on your roof for a period of 20 years. You will receive a solar host credit each month on your CPS Energy bills for 20 years. At the end of 20 years, we will remove the equipment and return your roof to its original condition.
- What happens if I sell my home?
If you sell your home, the new homeowner will be enrolled as a solar host and will receive the host credit on their monthly CPS Energy bills for the remainder of the program.
- Is this a low income program?
The SolarHost program is a great fit for all home and business owners since there are no upfront costs. Because it is free, we are able to offer it to all parts of the community.
- How is this different from the Roofless Solar program?
With Roofless Solar (community solar), you have no panels on your roof. Instead, you buy “shares” in a solar farm that are treated like a stock. You own them outright and sell the energy they produce to the project operator, who then sells it to CPS Energy for use by the entire community in exchange for credits on your bill. The more panels or “shares” you own, the more electricity you generate, the higher your bill credit.
- Is this really a free program? What kind of strings are attached?
Yes, this truly is the only free solar program offered through CPS Energy. PowerFin, installs, owns, and operates the SolarHost equipment. You receive benefits just by letting us use your roof for 20 years.
- I have heard of other "free" solar installations. How does that work?
SolarHost is, in fact, the only truly free solar program in the San Antonio area. Some solar salespeople have claimed that their equipment is free, but ultimately you will have to pay, either with a loan or money out of your own pocket, to buy the equipment. SolarHost is a co-branded program of CPS Energy and PowerFin, and is the only truly free solar program. More information can be found at this CPS Energy website.