Given the great potential for solar energy development in Texas it isn’t exactly surprising that industry analysts keep a close eye on happenings there, but until now the break-away point for the industry in the state has yet to come.
That may soon be changing though, according to some analysts — owing to the state’s previously mentioned solar potential, its relatively simple permitting processes, and significant available transmission capacity.
Amongst other notable signs, Texas was recently ranked in Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index 2013 as being the 6th most attractive state in the US for solar energy development.
Green Tech Media provides more:
Municipal utilities seem to be the most promising market for solar power wholesale contracts in Texas. Specifically, the City of Austin’s new solar mandate is promising, with at least 100 MW of local wholesale contracts to be awarded, but full details are not yet available on this brand-new program just approved by the city council in late August.
The direct access/retail choice option for selling power directly to industrial customers is another attractive option. Under this approach, industrial and commercial customers may choose to buy their power directly from solar projects. This is a new market in Texas, made possible by the declining cost of solar. It is not clear how big this market is, but there are many large industrial customers that would likely be interested in discussing competitively priced solar options.
Texas has faced transmission issues as a consequence of its large and rapid wind power buildout. However, its response has been to create a number of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones that include major new transmission facilities. Combined, these zones will be able to handle 18,500 MW of new wind and/or solar power.
With 75 MW of new solar capacity installed in the state in 2013 — according to Solar Energy Industries Association — the state ranked eight in the country for total new installed capacity. Notable, but certainly with substantial room for growth — the greatest potential in the whole of the country according to Ernst & Young.
With solar development in the state now coming close to being cost-competitive, that potential looks like it’s now set to be realized. 🙂
According to a recent report — the April 2014 interconnection queue report from ERCOT — there’s currently 3,457 MW worth of solar power projects at various stages of interconnection to the state’s electric grid. A strong indicator of snowballing development.
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