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The U.S. Department of Energy and the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center are excited to announce that a new, modernized DSIRE is under construction. The new version of DSIRE will offer significant improvements over the current version, including expanded data accessibility and an array of new tools for site users. The new DSIRE site will be available in December 2014. Staff are currently working hard on the new version of DSIRE but are also maintaining the content of the current version of DSIRE. Thank you for your continued support and patience during this transition. We hope you are as excited for December as we are!

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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Austin Energy - Value of Solar Residential Rate   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/16/2014
Program Overview:
State: Texas
Incentive Type: Net Metering
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Photovoltaics
Applicable Sectors: Residential
Applicable Utilities:Austin Energy
System Capacity Limit:20 kW
Net Excess Generation:Excess credits carried over month-to-month; reset at zero at the start of a calendar year
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Designing Austin Energy's Solar Tariff Using a Distributed PV Value Calculator

Note: In August 2014, the City Council of Austin, Texas, enacted Resolution No. 20140828, which directed program changes to the Value of Solar Tariff as follows:

  • allow excess credits to be rolled over from year to year (instead of being reset at zero at the start of a calendar year),
  • allow solar energy systems of any size to be eligible for the Residential Solar Tariff by removing the existing 20 kW cap,
  • set an annual price floor equal to the residential electric rates of a “tier 3 customer” (i.e., $0.091 per kilowatt-hour for the rate schedule approved September 2013),
  • allow leased system hosts to receive value of solar credits, and
  • adopt a 5-year rolling average in calculating the annual assessment.

This entry will be updated as more information becomes available about the implementation of the changes outlined in the Resolution.


In October 2012 Austin Energy, the municipal utility of Austin Texas, became the first utility in the U.S. to offer a Value of Solar Tariff (VOST) for residential customers with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The VOST is available for all past, present and future residential solar customers. The VOST replaces net metering for residential solar PV systems that are sized no larger than 20 kilowatts (kW). 

Calculating VOST

Under the VOST, a residential customer with an installed PV system is billed for all the electricity consumed in a billing period but is given a credit on the bill for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity the customer generates with the PV system. The amount of the credit assigned for each kWh of solar energy generated is calculated by using algorithms and web-based calculations developed Austin Energy and Clean Power Research. The VOST is administratively adjusted annually, beginning with each year's January billing month. The original VOST was $0.128 per kWh, but it was reduced for the 2014 calendar year to $0.107 per kWh.

The VOST calculation is based upon several factors* including: line loss savings, avoided fuel costs, avoided costs of installing new generation capacity, fuel price hedge value, avoided transmission and distribution expenses, and environmental benefits. Taken together, these savings are intended to reflect the value of distributed solar energy to the utility—a “break-even” value for a specific kind of distributed generation resource, and a value at which the utility is economically neutral to whether it supplies such a unit of energy or obtains it from the customer.


All systems must meet the requirements of Austin Energy's interconnection guidelines and the customer is responsible for all interconnection costs. Interconnection agreements have a minimum term of 1 year unless the customer is a participant in the Austin Energy Solar PV Rebate Program, in which case the minimum term is 5 years. Agreements will be renewed automatically each year unless terminated by either party (requires 60-day written notice).

*Tariff calculations assume south-facing PV systems with 30-degree tilts.

  Austin Energy
721 Barton Springs Road
Austin, TX 78704
Phone: (512) 482-5346
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.