Apr 27, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Why Texas lags in rooftop solar

Adapted from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Chart: Axios Visuals 
Adapted from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Chart: Axios Visuals 

Texas is generally big in all things energy (including wind, where it is top in the nation), but the Dallas Fed has an interesting note about why the state is a lagging in rooftop solar deployment.

The big picture: "Solar energy, while experiencing robust growth in recent years, still only provides 0.5 percent of Texas’ total electricity generation, with residential solar supplying a meager 0.1 percent of total generation."

What they found: The note says a variety of forces explain why residential solar is such a small slice of the pie (check out the chart above on capacity per million residents). They include:

  • Texas is among just 2 states that don't force power companies to buy surplus power from residential projects (also called "net metering").
  • Electricity is just cheap in Texas. "The comparatively inexpensive electricity translates into a relatively longer repayment period to recoup an initial residential solar investment," the report notes.

By the numbers: According to Solar Energy Industries Association's data about total capacity (that is, not per capita):

  • Texas ranks 5th in the country in installed solar generation capacity, a tally that includes residential, non-residential and utility-scale projects.
  • The massive state ranks 9th in residential solar capacity.

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