The Lone Star state has traditionally been known as the USA’s oil and gas capital. Fast forward to 2017; the phenomenal growth in the solar electricity space has established Texas as a green energy champion. According to a research report published by the Solar Foundation, Texas stands out as one of the country’s biggest job creators in the solar space. Since 2013, solar jobs have almost doubled in Texas. Last year alone, the state has witnessed a whopping 34 percent growth in solar jobs. With a surge in its energy generation capacity, Texas now holds the 6th position in the national solar ranking. And this is not all; renewable power capacity in Texas is projected to grow as much as 1,000 percent by 2030.
San Antonio, a major city in south central Texas, has the largest solar capacity in the state. Nationally, it occupies the 7th position in this regard. The former Spanish colony makes an excellent case study into how the abundance of natural resources coupled with the right policies can help attain a dramatic growth in the renewable space.
According to Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas, the city’s government-owned electric utility company also played a vital role in San Antonio’s journey to solar success. While San Antonio’s well-planned rebate program made it easier for the owners of single-family homes to invest in PV arrays, a community solar program enabled apartment dwellers to jointly buy and own small solar farms. Both the programs gave a major boost to the residential solar market. Some of the city’s major utility companies, too, invested in large-scale solar plants, another factor that contributed to this massive growth.
When it comes to analyzing the factors behind the phenomenal growth of solar in Texas, one cannot just ignore the people’ role. Texans were univocal in their demands for a low-carbon energy policy. Approximately 85 percent of Texan voters voiced their support for an increased use of clean energy while 71 percent identified carbon dioxide as a pollutant and demanded restriction in the use of carbon emitting products such as coal.
What did the state gain? Improvement in air quality, better health, and significant cost saving. The state’s coal plants have notoriously been associated with asthma, heart attacks, and premature deaths. An increased use of solar and wind power would save the lives of 2,300 Texans and $20 billion in healthcare costs by 2030. Above all, in lieu of all its green energy initiatives, Texas has a lot to gain from the Clean Power Plan, a federal initiative that sets a pollution limit for each state’s power sector and provides incentives and rewards for meeting that target.
Florida, that enjoys a host of natural conditions including abundant yearlong sunshine, has many things to learn from the Lone Star state. A closer look at advancing its green energy policy is a good beginning point. If you want to give your Florida home a solar boost, we can guide you right from solar panel selection to their installation. Call us today.