Austin, Texas, Approves Another 162 MW Of Solar

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Originally published on Solar Love.

Austin, Texas just might become the most solar powered city in America. About two weeks ago, it approved the development of a new round of 288 MW of solar power projects. Even more recently, it approved an additional 162 MW, bringing the total to 450 MW, and that is just for new projects. If these new projects are completed, and it seems reasonable to believe they will be, Austin will have about 670 MW of solar power. In case you are wondering about costs, the 162 MW round of project set of contracts were at $38-$40/MWh.

Austin_From_Congress_Street_Bridge“This deal is another hedge against the volatility of prices in the fossil fuel market. It is a win for the environment, a win for clean energy, and a win for Austin ratepayers,” explained Cyrus Reed, Conservation Director of the Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter.

So, which city in America has the most solar power at the moment? On a per capita basis, Honolulu was ranked first in a Forbes article. However, Los Angeles has more megawatts of solar power installed, with about 141.

Austin should not have too much trouble easily surpassing Los Angeles, considering its recent moves to greatly expand its solar power capacity.

It might be surprising that America’s number one solar city could be in Texas, which is a more conservative state and very obviously quite partial to petroleum. The thing about Austin though, is that it is sort of a progressive anomaly in the enormous state, with a huge and very reputable public university.

Education levels in Austin are higher than in most places in Texas, and in the rest of America. It ranked no. 15 in a list of 150 American cities for education. While education may not seem to be the most relevant criterion when solar power is considered, there has been some indication that the most educated people also have the highest view of solar power, “While favorable opinions were high among all education segments, those with the highest level of education had the highest favorable rating for solar energy, at 77%. Those with the lowest level of education, a high school diploma or less, exhibited a distinctly lower percentage of favorable responses (58%), the study found.”

Image Credit: Davey Dickler, Wiki Commons

Reprinted with permission.

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Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter:

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12 thoughts on “Austin, Texas, Approves Another 162 MW Of Solar

  • Less than 4 cents kwh! I presume that includes the 30% tax credit. Still, even at 6 cents we have arrived at the Sunshot goal.

  • “Austin will have about 670 MW of solar power”

    Which is what percentage of Austin’s total power?

    • Let’s see, there’s about one million people in Austin, so that’s 670 watts each which should produce at least 3 kilowatts per person per day. So if they use an average of 30 kilowatt-hours each a day, including industry etc. then it’s about 10%.

      • Thanks.

        • That is very rough, so don’t put too much faith in me.

  • Well that shows even in the most oil entrenched places there is hope and education appears to be one of the keys!
    Like Elon Musk stated: we have this handy fusion reactor, it does not need fuel or anything from us, we just need to use it.

  • Any idea of the breakdown between Rooftop / Canopy / Ground-mount and utility systems?

    • And since utility scale is the cheapest, why don’t we see more “community (neighborhood?) solar” installations? I’ve never seen one.

      • I would guess because someone/a group of people would have to undertake the project for free.

  • Plus, when the sun is not shining, wind will provide a growing share of Austin’s (and the rest of Texas) energy:

    “Wind generation output in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region hit a new high in the early morning of Oct. 22. ERCOT says wind power reached a record-setting 12,238 MW of output at 12:48 a.m., and the wind generation accounted for 36.83% of the grid operator’s overall load at the time. The previous wind record, 11,467 MW, was reached on Sept. 13.”

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