Clean Power

Published on June 25th, 2015 | by Guest Contributor

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Texas Enjoys Record-Breaking Quarter As New Solar Capacity Soars

June 25th, 2015 by  

Originally published by the Solar Energy Industries Association.

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 US Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

solar texasIn 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.”

###

About SEIA®:

Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.

 


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  • super390

    Given the size of our state and its large dry areas, we ought to be #2 behind California. But then, Texas is both the Vatican of the mentality that any change from fossil fuel culture is a treason against the American Way of Life, and the mentality that markets are so quick and flexible that they are free of such cultural prejudices. So Catch-22.

    • Zer0Sum

      Texans are supposed to be high achievers and especially so when it comes to the energy game. Apparently Texans have lost their will for massive awe inspiring success over the past couple of decades. It’s a bit sad to see it come to this but I suppose it was inevitable. Texans got old, fat and bloated off cheap oil and now they have no motivation to keep up the battle for supremacy as the top state. It’s ironic that California is now considered more advanced than Texas when it comes to the energy game.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Texas has 14,208 MW of installed wind.

        The next state down on the list is California at 5,914 MW.

        Is this the Official Night For Making Crap Up?

  • Ivor O’Connor

    Interesting picture. Looks so very bleak. I wonder how much that ground mounted erector set, minus the panels, costs. It doesn’t look secure enough to last a few decades because as far as I can see it is just setting on ground. One dust devil or strong wind and the whole thing would go flying.

    • Kevin McKinney

      I suspect that there’s more there than meets the eye–in that picture, at least.

      🙂

  • Hans

    Even after dramatic FiT cuts Germany installed 1900 MW of PV in 2014, which brought the total to 38 000 MW. This makes the totally installed 379 MW in Texas look rather unimpressive. Come on U.S., show us Eurotrash that you can do everything bigger and better.

    • Epicurus

      You have intelligent political leadership. We don’t. You have a better educated citizenry. Lastly, lower soft costs make installing solar cheaper in Germany from what I have read.

      • hans

        I don’t think your political leaders are stupid. I do think that your political system allows for legally corrupt politicians (campaign contributions) and unfruitful polarisation (two party system). But this is slightly off-topic.

        • Epicurus

          “I don’t think your political leaders are stupid.”

          Google Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, and Senator James “only god can change the climate” Inhofe, and just about any Republican politician.

          • Hans

            Are they really stupid or are they oppurtunistic evil bastards who play a role to attract support from certain special interests and certain voters? Difficult to judge from the outside.

          • Bob_Wallace

            It’s a mixed bag. There are some who are likely too stupid to understand basic physics. Others who have closed their minds to learning facts that don’t support the team talking points. Others who play deniers in order to stay in office. Some who are working for fossil fuel interests (not receiving checks, but received support and will receive support because they supported FF).

            There may be some who are operating on religious beliefs. A belief that their god would not let humans destroy his (always “his”) world.

            According to ex-senator (Republican) Bob Inglis many of the Republicans now in Congress fall into the ” play deniers in order to stay in office” category.

          • Epicurus

            I concur with what Bob said, but we have a shocking number of people are just plain stupid, Bachmann and Gohmert being prime examples. I’m convinced that most American politicians took up their political career in order to make money and are opportunistic evil bastards. While it is illegal to sell a vote on a particular bill (quid pro quo), it is not illegal for a politician to “invest” in sweetheart deals offered by just about anyone. Of course all these deals are sure things. A former CIA officer said that the Saudis have bought off almost every congressman. Countless corporations and foreign governments are most likely doing this.

            The U.S. is the least democratic country in the Western world, but that’s another subject.

          • Bob_Wallace

            ” most American politicians took up their political career in order to make money”

            I don’t at all agree. I suspect the majority got into politics in order to move things along in the direction they thought appropriate. Appropriate direction varies from individual to individual.

            ​” A former CIA officer said that the Saudis have bought off almost every congressman.”

            I don’t find that at all credible. Sounds like some blowhard spouting off/.
            “Countless corporations and foreign governments are most likely doing this.”
            You are accusing most/all Congress members of committing felonys.

            ​”​
            The U.S. is the least democratic country in the Western world
            ​”

            ​We can certainly dismiss that a hyperbole. If you don’t agree pull up a map of the Western hemisphere and review the countries therein….​

          • Epicurus

            “I don’t at all agree.”

            Since we can’t read their minds, we’ll never know.

            My congresswoman got her son a $100,000 a year job managing a billion dollar local boondoggle she helped push through congress. She has turned a government boondoggle into a family business.

            “You are accusing most/all Congress members of committing felonys.”

            If the government can’t prove a quid pro quo, it isn’t illegal. It is easy to structure sweetheart deals to avoid legal problems.

            “We can certainly dismiss that a hyperbole (sic).”

            Have you seen the Democracy Index published by The Economist?

            We are ranked 21, very close to their category called “Flawed Democracies.”

            But we did edge out Costa Rica!

            http://pages.eiu.com/rs/eiu2/images/Democracy-Index-2012.pdf

            We very definitely belong in the flawed democracy category in light of the gerrymandering and the shut out of minority parties.

            Take a look at the countries who made the top 10 and ask yourself what makes them different.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s your claim.

            “The U.S. is the least democratic country in the Western world​”

            Using the listing you link your statement is a full fail. You’ll have to excuse me if I simply don’t find the rest of your claims credible as well.

          • Epicurus

            Okay, Bob, I’m guilty of hyperbole. The U.S. is ranked 21 out of 25 countries listed as “full democracies.” You got me. We aren’t #25. That’s hardly a “Great Democracy” in my book, as American politicians refer to it.

            In our political system only 5 to 10 congressional incumbents lose their seats in each congressional cycle. I don’t call that a thriving democracy, but perhaps you do.

            Why? Because of our system of gerrymandered single member districts.

            A system of single member districts is very undemocratic because it awards 100% of the
            representation to as little as a 50.1% majority. The people who vote for
            the losing candidate or candidates are left with no one to represent
            their views. In contrast, most democracies created after ours have some form of proportional representation where like-minded voters in a geographical area such as a congressional
            district are able to elect candidates in proportion to their share
            of the vote. Very few votes are wasted whereas up to 49.9% of the votes in our system are wasted.

            Lastly, I can think of no less democratic chamber in any democratic country than our Senate where a senator
            from Wyoming represents under 600,000 people and a senator from
            California represents over 37,000,000 people, yet their votes have equal
            weight. Twenty-six of the smallest states representing only 16% of the
            U.S. population (ONLY SIXTEEN PERCENT!) have a majority of the vote in the
            Senate.

            I hope you know more about energy than you do government.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “In our political system only 5 to 10 congressional incumbents lose their seats in each congressional cycle. I don’t call that a thriving democracy, but perhaps you do”

            I like the idea of some of our Congress members serving a long time. I hated to see Henry Waxman and Barney Frank retire. I don’t want to see Elizabeth Warren be a ‘one term and out’ senator.

            Our system has a number of problems. Gerrymandering is one. We seem to have fixed that in California, other states will have to work on the problem. Our largest problem, IMHO, is campaign financing. We make even the most noble of our elected officials spend massive time trying to get money for their next campaign and we all know who tends to have the most money.

            And I understand a lot of the other problems. But when you call every Congress member a felon and the US the worst democracy in the Western hemisphere you lose your credibility.

          • Epicurus

            I never accused any member of Congress of being a felon, and I have already answered this, but perhaps you can’t understand what quid pro quo means. “To prove bribery, the Supreme Court has held that ‘payments are made in return for an explicit promise or undertaking by the official to perform an official act.’ Thus, a prosecutor must prove — and a jury must find beyond a reasonable doubt — that there was a corrupt exchange, namely, that a benefit was given in exchange for something received. This element in legal parlance is called the ‘quid pro quo.'”

            It is very easy for lobbyists and special interests to structure gifts and investments in order to enrich politicians without running afoul of the quid pro quo requirement.

            Reading comprehension problems? Age related?

          • Bob_Wallace

            “A former CIA officer said that the Saudis have bought off almost every congressman. Countless corporations and foreign governments are most likely doing this.”

            If you want to engage in wordplay then we can agree that to be a felon a member of Congress would first have to be convicted. I’ll change my wording to you accusing members of Congress of having committed felonies.

            Trying to slip out of the charges you made, sonny?

          • Zer0Sum

            The link Epicurus sent does not prove that the US is not the least democratic country in the western world. it simply highlights that it is not at the top of the list. A lot of people will argue that the list linked to is actually wrong and that the US of A should be at the bottom of the list. It’s about perception. Clearly you are of the opinion that it should not be ranked as low as it is. However your opinion appears to be valid whereas other people who believe the opposite appear to be wrong. That just means you are biased towards your opinion.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So what? He made a claim and then posted a link that proved him wrong.
            “. Clearly you are of the opinion that it should not be ranked as low as it is”

            Clearly you are pulling stuff out of your nether regions. Look back and see if you can see where I ranked the US. (Here’s a hint. I did not rank except for pointing out that there was at least one country in the western hemisphere with a more problematic government than the US.

          • Zer0Sum

            In The US of A, there is a small minority of people who vote for the president. They are called the Electoral College. Please tell me how the American system is different to the Chinese Communist party voting system.

            American Democracy is a contradiction. The whole system is corrupted by corporate interests. The Government is not representative of the people. Just corporate interests.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Any adult citizen who has not been convicted of a felony can register and vote in presidential elections. In some states even felons can vote.

            The Electoral Congress electors could vote contrary to their state’s popular vote, but it’s never happened.

            I suppose you know that in order to vote for the leaders in China one has to be a member of the Communist Party. And that candidates are picked by the Party leaders, not by an open primary system.

          • Zer0Sum

            “Anyone” in China can be a member of the Chinese Communist party if they work hard and pay their dues.

            Voting in the presidential elections is done by the Electoral College. Only people who join the Electoral College are allowed to vote for the POTUS. The Electoral College members openly declare their intention to vote for a specific candidate and it is almost always along party lines.

            If you are implying that “anyone” can become POTUS and that the decision is NOT decided in advance then it would seem that you are avoiding the reality of Bush -> Clinton -> Bush -> Obama -> Jebillary. Let’s not forget about he Kennedy’s too.

            It is not a democratic decision making process in the States. Just a bunch of entrenched elite interests paying for the next leader to represent their agendas.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “To join the party, an applicant must be 18 years of age, and must spend a year as a probationary member.[75] In contrast to the past, when emphasis was placed on the applicants’ ideological criteria, the current CPC stresses technical and educational qualifications.[75] To become a probationary member, the applicant must take an admission oath before the party flag.[75] The relevant CPC organization is responsible for observing and educating probationary members.[75] Probationary members have duties similar to those of full members, with the exception that they may not vote in party elections nor stand for election.[75] Many join the CPC through the Communist Youth League.[75] Under Jiang Zemin, private entrepreneurs were allowed to become party members.[75] According to the CPC constitution, a member, in short, must follow orders, be disciplined, uphold unity, serve the Party and the people, and promote the socialist way of life.”

            Wiki –

            In other words, one must first become a Communist and go through a trial period where other Party members check you out and then you may be admitted into the Party.

            There’s no alternative party and being a non-Party member citizen means you don’t vote.

            I said nothing about “anyone” can become president in the US, but let’s take a look at least as far back as I go.

            Harry Truman. ” After leaving school, he worked briefly as a timekeeper for a railroad construction contractor, then as a clerk in two Kansas City banks. In 1906 he returned to Grandview to help his father run the family farm. He continued working as a farmer for more than ten years.

            From 1905 to 1911, Truman served in the Missouri National Guard.”

            Dwight Eisenhower. “David Jacob Eisenhower (1863–1942), was Dwight’s father and was a college-educated engineer, despite his own father Jacob’s urging to stay on the family farm. Eisenhower’s mother, Ida Elizabeth (Stover) Eisenhower, born in Virginia, of German Protestant ancestry, moved to Kansas from Virginia. She married David on September 23, 1885, in Lecompton, Kansas, on the campus of their alma mater, Lane University.[10]

            David owned a general store in Hope, Kansas, but the business failed due to economic conditions and the family became impoverished. The Eisenhowers then lived in Texas from 1889 until 1892, and later returned to Kansas, with $24 to their name at the time. David worked as a mechanic with a railroad and then with a creamery.[10] By 1898, the parents made a decent living and provided a suitable home for their large family.[11]

            Eisenhower was born on October 14, 1890, in Denison, Texas, the third of seven boys.[12”

            Lyndon Johnson. “Lyndon Baines Johnson was born August 27, 1908 in Stonewall, Texas, in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River, the oldest of five children….”

            Richard Nixon. “Nixon’s early life was marked by hardship, and he later quoted a saying of Eisenhower to describe his boyhood: “We were poor, but the glory of it was we didn’t know it”.[6] The Nixon family ranch failed in 1922, and the family moved to Whittier, California. In an area with many Quakers, Frank Nixon opened a grocery store and gas station.”

            Jimmy Carter. “Carter’s father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a successful local businessman who ran a general store and had begun to invest in farmland. He had been a reserve second lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps during World War I. His mother, Bessie Lillian Gordy, was a nurse at the Wise hospital. Carter was the first of Earl and Lillian’s children; they moved several times in his infancy.[2]

            The Carters settled on a dirt road in nearby Archery, which was almost entirely populated by impoverished African American families.”

            Ronald Reagan. “Carter’s father, James Earl Carter, Sr., was a successful local businessman who ran a general store and had begun to invest in farmland. He had been a reserve second lieutenant in the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps during World War I. His mother, Bessie Lillian Gordy, was a nurse at the Wise hospital. Carter was the first of Earl and Lillian’s children; they moved several times in his infancy.[2]

            The Carters settled on a dirt road in nearby Archery, which was almost entirely populated by impoverished African American families.”

            Bill Clinton. “Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, at Julia Chester Hospital in Hope, Arkansas.[2][3] His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. (1918–1946), was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Clinton was born.[4] His mother, Virginia Dell (née Cassidy; 1923–1994), traveled to New Orleans to study nursing soon after he was born. She left Clinton in Hope with her parents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and ran a small grocery store.”

            Barack Obama. ” Obama’s parents met in 1960 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where his father was a foreign student on scholarship.[7][8] The couple married in Wailuku on Maui on February 2, 1961,[9][10] and separated when, in late August 1961, Obama’s mother moved with their newborn son to attend the University of Washington in Seattle for one year.”

            Now let’s review –

            “If you are implying that “anyone” can become POTUS and that the decision is NOT decided in advance then it would seem that you are avoiding the reality of Bush -> Clinton -> Bush -> Obama -> Jebillary.

            It is not a democratic decision making process in the States. Just a bunch of entrenched elite interests paying for the next leader to represent their agendas.”

            I’ll let you look up Secretary Clinton’s background.

            Recall how she was the “decided in advance” Democratic candidate in 2008 when a certain darker skinned guy who was raised by a single mother came out of the wings and grabbed the presidency?

            Now why don’t you drop this before you further embarrass yourself.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Texas hasn’t yet installed a lot of solar but the fact that numbers are starting to grow is very important. That means the “solid South”‘s resistance to renewable energy is crumbling. Texas already has a bucket load of wind and now they’re starting to grow solar.

      Not long ago Texas decided not to build and new nuclear plant. They’re starting to move on offshore wind. It’s going to be harder for anti-renewable folks in the South to make fun of wind and solar as something those hippies out in California play around with.

      • hans

        I agree, my remark was meant as motivation.

    • JimBouton

      We could be over 14% renewable electrical energy production in Texas by the end of 2015 with all of the planned wind projects in the state. (We finished 2014 with 11% renewable production.)

      How many other states can make that claim? Not many. We have no hydro to speak of, so this is all wind with a small, but growing percentage of solar.

      We have had to overcome a lot of hurdles including the lack of distribution lines to the west and southeast sections of the state. I believe that the southeast section of the state (Gulf of Mexico) has a much higher efficiency rating for wind and a lot of projects are planned down there.

      As for solar, sadly, we have no FIT in this state, so you are dependent on power companies reimbursing you for cost of your excess power. Luckily, Green Mountain Energy and a new company MP2 will buy back your energy at the same price they sell to you.

      As Richard Dreyfuss once notably remarked: “Baby Steps”

      • Zer0Sum

        I thought “Everything is BIGGER in Texas”. Does that also apply to lack of motivation and corporate malaise?

        • JimBouton

          I won’t argue that Texas has its share of problems, but there are many in this state trying to fight for clean energy.

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