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Solar Energy Panels in Austin, Texas.

Texas Solar Power

Background

Solar power, or photovoltaic power, is an inexhaustible energy source that converts sunlight into electricity. Thirty years ago, solar power was an experimental power source. Today, lower production costs, greater dependability and ease of use have led to a wider acceptance of solar technology, making it a major energy source across the nation.

In Texas, solar power is used for a variety of purposes including, powering homes, school crosswalk warning signs and water pumping systems. Texas is ranked first in solar energy potential according to the State Energy Conversation Office (SECO) but is currently only tenth in solar energy production.

With a mostly sunny climate, renewable energy companies are looking at Texas as the next frontier for solar energy production. Despite the state’s tremendous potential for solar power, there are few state wide incentives to draw in more green companies. In recent years numerous bills have been filed in the legislature to push for new incentives to energize the industry but very few have passed. A recent bill proposed a statewide rebate for solar projects. That initiative would have been funded by additional charges on electric bills, including a $1 or $2 per month fee for residential ratepayers. Opponents to the legislation claimed it was unfair for electricity customers to pay the surcharge when only customers that participate in the rebate program would have benefited.

A now defunct solar project proposed for Marfa, Texas strongly divided the community between those who commended the prospect of new jobs and tax revenue in the state and those who worried that large solar satellites would spoil the desert landscape.

Solar power advocates point to the potential for job growth in Texas, as new solar projects continue to pop up across the state. A 2010 National Solar Jobs Census ranks Texas third among states, with an estimated 6,400 solar jobs at 170 companies.

Blue Wing Farm in San Antonio is the largest solar farm in Texas. The 140-acre site was built in 2010 and generates enough energy to power 1,800 homes.

Latest Posts

Solar-Powered Public Property Bill Backed by Education, Military

A bill that would increase the amount of renewable electricity on publicly-owned land received support from educators, environmentalists and the military at the Capitol Tuesday. An Army attorney, high school science teacher and an environmental advocate all testified in support of SB 1586, authored by Sen. Jose R. Rodriguez, D-El Paso, at a Senate Business and Commerce [...]

Boy Harnesses Wind, Spotlight Envelops Boy

William Kamkwamba works on a motor.

You may have seen the TED talk, or read the book, or just seen an interview with him somewhere like CNN or the Daily Show. He’s William Kamkwamaba, a young man from Malawi, who dropped out of school at a young age and built his family a windmill. From junk. And it worked. In the early [...]

Solar Stuggles to Shine in Deregulated Texas Electricity Market

The Weberville Solar Project outside Austin is the largest in Texas

In such a sunny place as Texas, some people think it’s a real shame to waste all that solar energy. They point out the state ranks 13th in the nation for total solar power generation, behind such often gloomy places as New Jersey (#2) and New York (#11) according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. [...]

Texas Renewable Energy Faces Hurdles in Legislature

The 380 acre Webberville Solar Farm outside of Austin..

From the Texas Tribune:  During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama doubled down on his vision for renewable energy, calling for more wind and solar power. In Texas, the Legislature is less enthusiastic. As the session progresses, renewable energy advocates are bracing to defend critical policies that have helped Texas become [...]

What You Can Do About Climate Change

A parking meter is marked off due to damage caused by beach erosion along route A-1-A impassable to vehicles on November 27, 2012 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Climate scientists predict sea levels in South Florida will rise by 1 foot by 2070, 2 feet by 2115, and 3 feet by 2150.

For those watching and waiting for President Obama to take action on climate change, last night’s State of the Union address may have been an encouraging start. “If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” the president said. “I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, [...]

The ‘Secret’ to Unlocking Renewable Energy in Texas? Battery Storage

Texas is awash in green energy potential. Problem is, we don't have anywhere to store the renewable energy we produce.

Texas may be rich in fossil fuels like oil and gas, but it’s also awash in clean, renewable energy. Well, at least it could be. With the most renewable energy potential in the United States, Texas is a formidable candidate to up their renewable energy usage. Wind power now supplies 8 percent of energy to the grid [...]

Texans Get Another Choice On Where Their Power Comes From

Texans can now choose to get their power from only wind or natural gas.

Texans can now choose to get their power from 100 percent Texas-drilled natural gas.  Through a new option from Direct Energy, a retail electric provider, customers can pay a little more — about six dollars extra a month on the average homeowner’s bill* — to get their power just from Texas gas. In Texas, Direct Energy serves cities [...]

Walmart Becomes A Solar King, Just Not in Texas. Yet.

Solar panels cover the roof of a Sam's Club store that was one of Wal Mart's earlier solar installations in April 2009 in Glendora, California.

It’s where you might go for pool noodles, school supplies and perhaps just people-watching. But the retail behemoth Walmart is also becoming known as a green energy company. On Monday, Walmart unveiled its 100th solar panel array for a store in San Diego. The company has the goal of using 100 percent renewable energy to [...]

Going Green at the Texas Governor’s Mansion

Governor Rick Perry speaks at the unveiling of the remodeled Texas Governor's Mansion on July 18, 2012.

Four years after a fire bomb nearly incinerated the entire building, the Texas Governor’s Mansion is rebuilt and running. And you may be surprised to learn that it boasts several new eco-friendly features. “I think it’s not unlike the State of Texas having a diverse portfolio of energy,” Governor Rick Perry said at a tour [...]

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