Solar Power Use Wounds Texas Power Companies
Texas Solar Use on the Rise
As one of the world’s larger solar power users, Texas is on pace with the surge in solar power use. Rapid growth and the push to increase capacity are hallmarks of a perfect storm brewing to undercut traditional utilities’ hold on consumers. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas has cut its dependence on coal by half. Downward price pressure is a natural result.
A Leader in the Nation
It should not go unnoticed that existing trends in the Texas renewable energy market serve as a microcosm of the national debate on solar energy. In line with the national push for increased use of renewables, Texas has outpaced the nation. Many states already offer financial incentives to go solar, together with the national Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) at the forefront. Texas offers tax abatements and other incentives, and many other states are coming onboard. Not only do homeowners benefit from these incentives, but developers are also getting their slice of the pie, too, in terms of increasing numbers of solar installations and transmission lines.
Bringing Down the Prices
The advent of solar power naturally puts downward price pressure on competing electrical utilities as witnessed not only in Texas but in California and North Carolina as well. The latter two states added the most solar capacity last year. Texas may foster more solar use growth because of its large land mass as well as its vast amounts of natural sunlight. While a great concept, and while solar installations have been increasing exponentially in recent years, short-term returns from solar energy use have been slight. This may be due in large part to the unavailability of cheap methods of mass production, which would ultimately make more units available at lower prices. At this time, the new technology has not yet been developed. While it’s all well and good to convert natural sunlight to electricity, better still would be the ability to store that converted energy to be used at night. However, with improvements in infrastructure, there has been a push for more transmission lines to enhance solar energy’s distribution within the grid. Earlier this year, at least three Texas energy stakeholders joined to produce RFPs to produce at least 13.25 MW of solar and solar-with-storage bids. The surge is definitely on.
7th Largest Solar Power Producer
Even though solar energy has grown exponentially in Texas in recent years, still only a small fraction of Texas homes are supplied by solar. Still, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association, Texas remains this country’s seventh largest producer of solar power. And Texas is set to triple its capacity within five years. Once more homes adopt solar panel technology and later take advantage of increased generator capacities, the benefits of solar will become even more widely adopted.
Well-known as a key trendsetter state, California has recently adopted new building codes that require all new homes to be equipped with solar panels. Solar is here to stay. With improved infrastructure and increased capacity, as well as favorable legislation and financial incentives to stakeholders, the push for solar will be adopted more widely and consumers will ultimately see the rewards for making the switch.