Texas biggest solar plant

Texas – The Birthplace Of Big Oil Is About To Get Its Biggest Solar Plant Yet

While the state has a meager showing for solar capacity so far, the start of construction on Texas’ biggest solar plant could mark a turnaround.

Texas-biggest-solar-plant
Aerial view of the Webberville Solar Farm, photographed from the southwest at approximately 3000 feet.

According to a 2012 report from the Department of Energy, Texas has one of the highest potentials for solar capacity — including rooftop arrays, utility-scale arrays, and concentrated solar power — of any state in the country. But with just 201 megawatts of solar as of 2013, Texas ranks 13th among the states for total installed capacity — and it’s using a minuscule 0.7 percent of its potential.

Compare that to California, which boasts 5,660 megawatts of installed capacity, which takes up over six percent of its reported potential, and ranks the state first in the nation.

But Fuel Fix also reported on Thursday [May 16] that the San Francisco firm Recurrent Energy just landed a contract that would increase Texas’ capacity by over 50 percent, with a 150 megawatt installation in West Texas. Construction is occurring at the behest of Austin Energy — one of the largest city-owned utilities in the country — and should be completed by 2016. The project will be worth $525 million and will cover 1,000 acres of land.

However, as National Journal points out, Texas remains far from meeting its full solar potential, thanks to a string of policy decisions that have left the state lagging behind its neighbors.

Like 29 other states, Texas has passed a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) — a mandate that a certain portion of its electricity come from renewable sources — the law makes no specific provision for how much should come from solar. As a result, developers have filled up most of the mandate with wind.

See also: The World’s Largest Solar Plant

But what Texas lacks entirely is a “net-metering” law, a provision that 43 other states have passed some form of, and which allows individuals who produce their own solar power to sell the excess back to the grid and thus reduce their electric bill. Right now most electric utilities operate on a highly regulated one-way model in which the utility sells power and customers buy it. Net metering moves the grid a bit closer to an actual market, in which many producers of electricity both large and small can sell to everyone else who’s using power. Texas law allows individual utilities to voluntarily adopt net metering standards, but there is no uniform and state-wide policy.

As a result, most of the action in Texas solar power is occurring at the municipal level.

The San Antonio area has installed 90 megawatts of utility-scale solar and 15 megawatts of direct generation, with another 385 megawatts expected over the next few years, ranking it sixth amongst cities nationwide. Austin itself has 16 megawatts of capacity online, and utilities in both cities have taken up the opportunity to voluntarily begin their own forms of net-metering.

“We have assumed that we had to develop a strategy that did not rely on state support,” Lanny Sinkin, the executive director of Solar San Antonio, told National Journal.

That should become easier as technology continues to drive down the price of solar, making the power source more attractive on the market even without any policy assists. Solar power has boomed in America, mirroring worldwide growth fueled by demand in China. That’s encouraged investment and further drops in prices. Recurrent Chief Executive Arno Harris pointed out to fuel fix that the manufacturing costs of solar panels dropped between 60 and 70 percent in recent years.

“We’re in the third generation for large-scale build outs” of solar technology, Harris said. “We’ve learned a lot about how to be more efficient.”

In fact, as of mid 2013, installation prices for solar power were lower in Texas than anywhere else in the country. And according to Fuel Fix, Austin, Texas is seeing offers for utility-scale solar power deals as low as five cents per kilowatt hour.

“[Texas’ state government] was just never going to come and develop the strategy for how to get it,” said Sinkin. “Now I think that with the rapid expansion of solar in Texas, there’s going to be more and more political support.”

Source | ThinkProgress

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

First Prototype Of Combat Exoskeleton That Stops Bullets With Liquid Armor Will Be Ready In 2018

The fictional superhero Iron Man is capable of performing amazing things in the movie, including absorbing bullets. This is made possible because of his...

Massive solar storm barely missed us in 2012

A Solar Storm Almost Threw Earth Over 200 Years Back in Time As we blithely went about our lives on July 23, 2012, we had...

A team of biohackers has figured out how to inject your eyeballs with night vision

This Biohacker Used Eyedrops To Give Himself Temporary Night Vision A team of biohackers from California successfully induced a temporary sense of night vision by...

What's New Today

FBI ‘Mistakenly’ Releases 9/11 Bombshell In Court: Key Saudi Diplomat Who “Tasked” Hijackers Named

It’s being called “a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement” according to 9/11 victims’ families who...

Racial wounds rip open under a president with a history of exploiting them

President Donald Trump has spent much of his adult life building his brand around racial divisions.

Bill Gates is the top target for coronavirus conspiracy theories

Bill Gates has been one of the most outspoken public figures about the coronavirus pandemic. But the...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

MOST READ

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Rothschild Bank Now Under Criminal Investigation After Baron David De Rothschild Indictment

Last year, Baron David de Rothschild was indicted by the French government after he was accused of fraud in a scheme that allegedly embezzled...

First Prototype Of Combat Exoskeleton That Stops Bullets With Liquid Armor Will Be Ready In 2018

The fictional superhero Iron Man is capable of performing amazing things in the movie, including absorbing bullets. This is made possible because of his...

Scientists trace mystery ‘alien signals’ to distant galaxy

For the first time, scientists have successfully traced mysterious “fast radio bursts” (FRBs), which have been speculated to be signs of extraterrestrial intelligence, to...

“Killer Germs” Obliterated by Medicinal Smoke (Smudging), Study Reveals

The ritualistic use of plant smoke stretches back to the prehistorical era and is still used, the world over, as a way of 'cleansing'...

New Study Suggests The Collapse of The Universe is IMMINENT

One theory for dark energy suggests the universe may not expand forever, but instead collapse in a “big crunch,” after which time ceases to...

Media Silence As Massive Sinkhole in Florida Leaks Radioactive Water into the Ground

Mulberry, FL – Last week, news broke that a massive sinkhole below a phosphate strip mine 30 miles east of Tampa had been releasing...

3D-Printed Casts Will Heal Your Bones Faster

This 3D Printed Cast Can Heal Bones Up To 80% Faster In the near future, having a broken arm could look way cooler thanks to...

Now We Know Who Trump Really Is

You need know only two things about the Trump presidency to understand what kind of man he is. We learned fairly early on that...

The 8 biggest lies the CIA told about torture

The newly released Senate report has already drawn attention for its harrowing view of the details of US torture, but it also comes at...