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The state of solar power in Texas

Solar power is an excellent renewable energy option for Texans. Over the past decade, Texas solar power has dramatically increased in capacity. For utility providers, solar is poised to take on a much larger role in the state’s energy generation. Similarly, for businesses and homeowners, solar panels can be a rewarding option.

How much solar power does Texas produce?

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) - the main trade organization for the U.S. solar industry - estimates the total investment in TX solar energy exceeds $4.6 billion as of Q1 2019. This has already created more than 9,600 solar energy jobs. Despite this investment, solar energy accounts for less than 1% of the state’s electricity production. As fossil fuel and natural gas plants are retired, renewables will begin to play a bigger role.

Is solar feasible in Texas?

Texas is currently producing enough solar energy to power more than 350,000 homes

According to the SEIA, Texas is currently producing enough solar energy to power more than 350,000 homes. Furthermore, the SEIA expects Texas’ solar capacity to more than double in the next five years, from just under 3 gigawatts to over 7.7 gigawatts. This would rank Texas third in the country for growth in that timeframe.

Texas solar adoption isn’t just being driven by large utilities. Many localities in Texas are expanding their solar power generation too. For example, a 150-megawatt solar farm is currently under construction in Austin, the state’s capital.

Individuals and businesses are similarly taking advantage of both renewable energy from utilities and their own solar panels and systems. The Office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts describes how the push for solar is making it easier for environmentally conscious businesses to reach their green goals.

The SEIA also tracks business solar adoption, noting that some large Texas businesses are now using solar power to either augment or replace their grid usage. These companies include Applied Materials, Campbell’s Soup and FedEx.

For Texans, it’s no surprise Texas benefits from fairly consistent sunshine. The average sunshine in Dallas is around 2,850 hours per year, or 61% of the year, with 135 clear days. This makes solar power generation quite feasible in Texas.

How much does solar cost in Texas?

The exact cost of a TX solar energy installation depends on your requirements, providers and location. However, there are a number of programs in the state to help offset the costs of solar installation. For residential and commercial users, there is a federal tax credit on the cost of the system. The credit is 30% on qualifying installations completed in 2019, 26% for those completed in 2020 and 20% for those completed in 2021. The sooner you act, the more you can save!*

Many localities offer additional financial incentives. For example, some Austin Energy customers who go solar may qualify for a rebate worth up to $2,500 for approved solar panel systems at Austin residences.

Homeowners can significantly reduce their utility expenses with an investment in solar. Texas residents purchasing new homes should ensure that their homes are solar-ready. This ensures they will have the opportunity to use solar panels without worrying about trees or neighboring homes limiting solar system placement.

  • *. Incentives, rebates, and tax credits vary and are subject to change. SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.

What legal considerations affect solar power in Texas?

Texas residents purchasing new homes should ensure that their homes are solar-ready

Solar power continues to gain popularity and legal support throughout the country. However, advocacy groups are pushing for additional legislation that will help encourage the switch to renewable energies, including solar power.

Of importance to Texans, groups such as the SEIA are pushing to extend federal, state and local tax abatement programs. The tax incentives for solar power have helped to push its adoption significantly. While solar panels are also becoming cheaper without incentives, these tax programs can help to keep the wind in the sails of adoption. In Texas, advocacy groups are lobbying for legislation that would help ensure more of the energy used in the state is generated by solar power.

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