Environment Texas Research and Policy Center
AUSTIN, TEXAS – Solar power is growing so fast in Texas that goals once considered ambitious are now seen as readily achievable, according to a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center.
“We can get to 20% solar in Texas by 2025 if we just keep our foot on the accelerator,” said Anne Clark. “That’s a small fraction of what’s possible, but it will make a big difference in the quality of our lives and the future of our planet.”
The group’s researchers found that solar has grown 84% in recent years. Even if this pace slowed to 61%, solar could still generate 20% of Texas’ electricity— a goal once thought improbable by many.
Achieving this target, the report said, would cut as much carbon pollution as 10 million cars emit in a year, and put Texas more than halfway to the benchmark set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which requires cuts in power plant carbon pollution of 39 percent.
“The City of San Antonio and CPS Energy set ambitious goals for the deployment of solar,” said Lanny Sinkin, Executive Director of Solar San Antonio, “Now, San Antonio ranks sixth in the nation for solar online. When current contracts already being implemented are complete, San Antonio may well move to third in the nation.”
Solar is currently the fastest-growing industry in the country, adding 143,000 jobs nationwide in 2013. According to the latest solar jobs census from the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed more than 4,000 people in Texas in 2013.
“One of the biggest benefits of local solar is the diversity of jobs across all background and skill levels,” said Carey Ibrahimbegovic, owner of Greenbelt Energy, “From engineers to sales people to skilled labor, there are opportunities for both blue collar and white collar professionals to build new careers.”
The report quantifies the state’s enormous solar energy potential using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Already, the state is home to more than 3 million residential and commercial rooftops that could host solar panels, and it has enough technical potential to meet the state’s energy needs 170 times over.
“When it comes to solar energy, the sky’s the limit,” said Clark. “Getting to 20% solar is the just the first step to a future powered entirely by pollution-free energy.”
Environment Texas Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.EnvironmentTexascenter.org