Spotlight: Renewable energy grows a more sustainable Texas
During the mid 2000’s Texas stepped up to eclipse California in wind energy production and, as of April 2016, has over 19,000 megawatts installed. As wind and solar technology makes these energy sources more and more efficient, costs will become competitive with energy generated by fossil fuels, allowing unprecedented access from residential to commercial to utility-scale installations, according to Home Improvement Leads.
Austin stands out as a city that has shown ample willingness to embrace renewable energy resources. In fact, the dropping prices allowed Austin Energy to sign solar deals for less than four cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh). Other cities are opening their arms to solar as well. Georgetown has committed to switching over completely to solar energy. Mayor Dale Ross says it was a decision based purely on business and costs.
While renewable energy expansion in Texas benefits the environment and savvy home and business owners who want to save money on utilities, job opportunities in the industry have raised Texas’ ranking to sixth in country when it came to solar employment, with 7,030 workers and growing (Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, October 2015).
The Future of Renewable Energy in Texas
Though Texas enjoys an abundant natural resource of sunlight, it has only 566 MW of solar energy installed to date. But recent renewals of federal tax credits could lead to a huge leap in solar installation. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) expects Texas to leap from 10th to 2nd in solar installations over the next five years and generate more energy than both wind and gas by 2030.