“Over the past five years, Texas has continued to show steady growth in the number of new solar installations and total solar capacity”
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Powered by growth across all solar sectors, Texas recorded its best-ever Q1 with 49 megawatts (MW) of newly installed solar capacity coming online, according to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
In the first quarter of this year, Texas trailed only five states - California, Nevada, New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts - in new capacity, kicking off what's expected to be a banner year in 2015.
"Over the past five years, Texas has continued to show steady growth in the number of new solar installations and total solar capacity," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "But that growth is rapidly accelerating. Texas is now on pace to install more than 200 MW of new solar capacity in 2015 alone. That's a huge jump - nearly three times more than was installed in 2013. Clearly, smart public policies, like the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), are providing a tremendous boost to the state's economy, creating thousands of new jobs and generating hundreds of millions of dollars a year in economic activity."
Resch said current policies are producing impressive results. Texas added 41.6 MW of utility-scale solar in Q1, along with 4.3 MW of residential and 3 MW of commercial, bringing its statewide total to 379 MW - enough to power more than 66,000 homes.
The report went on to point out that $87 million was invested in Texas in the first quarter in new solar installations - and nearly $340 million since the beginning of 2014.
"Because of the strong demand for solar energy, thousands of new, good-paying jobs have been added in Texas, benefitting the state's economy and environment," Resch said. "To put Texas' remarkable progress in some context, the 379 MW of solar installed in the state today is nearly as much as the entire country had in 2004. What's really encouraging is the way municipal utilities, such as the ones in San Antonio, Austin and Georgetown, are leading the way in solar adoption with effective policies that deliver important benefits to their citizens, including competitive costs and stable rates over long periods of time, avoiding the volatility of fossil fuel prices and other market whims."
Today, there are 404 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Texas, employing more than 7,000 people, representing manufacturers, contractors, project developers, distributors and installers. What's more, from an environmental perspective, solar installations in Texas are helping to offset more than 410,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing 86,000 cars off the state's roads and highways, or not consuming 46 million gallons of gasoline.
"By any measurement," Resch added, "solar is paying big dividends for Texas - and the best is yet to come."