The Texas solar energy industry has seen rapid growth in recent years. Currently, 25 counties have solar power plant projects online or in development, according to the Texas Solar Power Association. Texas is ranked 8th in the nation for cumulative solar capacity with 965 MW installed through the third quarter of 2016. Of this, 756 MW were from solar power plants, 128 MW were from residential systems, and 91 MW were from non-residential commercial and industrial installations. See Figure 1 for the growth in residential and commercial installations since 2013.
The solar industry supported 9,396 jobs in Texas through 2016, up 34% in the last year. This economic development is likely to continue with the 14,498 MW of solar projects currently in development within the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) territory. Under its current rate of growth, solar energy will represent 12.5% of generation by fuel type in 2031.
Locally, North Central Texas has seen tremendous growth in the residential market. Between 2008 and 2015, the number of residential rooftop installations grew from 6 to more than 4,500.
Where are the solar installations in North Texas? Track them HERE!
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created the Re-Powering America's Land Mapping and Screening tools. With the RE-Powering Mapper, the EPA has pre-screened over 80,000 sites for their renewable energy potential. Over 2,400 Texas sites were evaluated for potential for large scale, utility scale, and off-grid photovoltaic (PV) installations. Check out this map to see potential solar energy sites on contaminated land in North Texas!
The Encouraging Solar Energy Adoption in NCTX webinar provides an overview of past and current North Central Texas efforts to encourage solar adoption. Presentations cover NCTCOG’s Solar Ready II and Go Solar Texas efforts, Oncor’s solar program, Plano’s Smart Energy Loan program, and the Solar Powering America by Recognizing Communities program.