Austin Energy’s Commercial Solar Incentive

Unlike the Austin Energy solar rebate for residential systems, the commercial version is what is known as a performance-based incentive (PBI). It’s a type of feed-in tariff whereby Austin Energy reads the solar production of a commercial PV system and credits the customer’s bill accordingly.

PBIs are important to the industry because they motivate consumers to properly install their system since they are being credited for the system’s performance. It would be just silly to spend money on a poorly performing system and lose incentive money. The amount of solar energy your system produces is multiplied by the agreed-upon, 10-year PBI rate, and that’s the credit you’d see on your utility bill.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and the PBI is no exception. Earlier this year, Austin Energy dropped their residential rebate from $1.10/watt to $1.00/watt and the commercial incentive from $0.09/kilowatt to $0.08/kilowatt. The response they received was a flood of new applications – particularly by Austin Businesses wanting to get the largest incentive possible.

The response was so great that Austin Energy actually suspended approval for commercial applications until they had reviewed the program guidelines. After several stakeholder meetings and conferring with the public, the utility developed the following changes to the commercial incentive and created a strategy to gradually phase out the program. Most notably they broke the program into three tiers: Small, Medium, and Large Commercial PBI.

You can find the offered rates and ramp down schedule below.  Be sure to check Austin Energy’s website to see how much solar is still available in each ‘step’.


Small Commercial PBI

Systems up to 75 kW

Medium Commercial PBI

Systems 75 kW to 400 kW

Large Commercial PBI

Systems 400 kW to 1 MW

Free Download: The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Solar

Free Download: The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Solar

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