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Texas ranks 3rd in the U.S. for residential solar power generation, new report says

Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media
Lucio Vasquez / Houston Public Media

Texas generates the third highest amount of residential solar power in the nation, according to a new report. Overall, the report found that the state’s total solar power generation increased by nearly 3,700% over the last decade.

The report, published by Environment Texas, outlines the increase in rooftop solar power from 2012 to 2022 across the U.S. and found that the country was producing 10 times as much power in 2022 compared to a decade earlier. When it comes to nationwide residential solar power, 39,510 GWh of electricity was generated in 2022 — 64% of all electricity produced from small-scale solar installations that year.

Additionally, the report also found that Texas ranked third in the nation for residential solar power generation with 2,575 GWh in 2022, placing the state just behind Arizona. California took the lead in 2022 by a wide margin, generating 15,912 GWh in residential solar power.

“That’s a testament to the many Texans who are excited about the technology,” said Luke Metzger, the executive director of Environment Texas. “Being able to generate their own clean electricity that doesn’t draw from dirty power plants on the grid, helping save money on their electric bills.”

According to a University of Houston poll from February 2023, 64% of Texas voters said they would support expanding U.S. reliance on solar power plants as an energy source.

This comes after Winter Storm Uri left millions without power for several days. According to Metzger, solar power can alleviate strain on the grid during periods of high electricity demand.

“We’re still seeing regular conservation alerts coming out from [the Electric Reliability Council of Texas] and every solar panel we put up on homes will help reduce some of that strain on the transmission and distribution grid,” Metzger said.

However, Metzger says Texas leadership has failed to incentivize the statewide adoption of solar due to costly permitting processes and a lack of net metering, which allows solar panel owners to be reimbursed when they export extra energy to the grid. The Environment Texas report found that Texas ranked second for rooftop solar power generation potential, but produced only 1.87% of that potential in 2022.

“We’re hopeful that the state of Texas will allow more and more people to make investments that provide benefits not only to themselves, but to the entire state, both in terms of grid resilience and environmental quality,” Metzger said.

Read the full report below:
Copyright 2024 Houston Public Media News 88.7. To see more, visit Houston Public Media News 88.7.

Lucio is a reporter and photojournalist currently studying media production at the University of Houston. He has previously worked as a news photographer for Houston Public Media, the NPR affiliate in Houston, Texas. His photography has appeared throughout several Texas-based NPR affiliates.