The Texas sun is responsible for unbearably hot summers, a diverse ecosystem, and in 2018, a new record for Texas-installed solar power.
Before the year’s start, ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas which oversees 90% of the state’s electric grid, approved the installation of over 2000 megawatts of new solar installations for 2018-2020. This would more than triple the current installed solar capacity in the state.
For years, Texas has been the leader in wind power, utilizing the vast expanses of flat West Texas to install over 20,000 megawatts of wind power. In 2018, Texas yielded an impressive 18% of its energy from renewables. While this is a huge win for clean energy, less than 1% of that came from solar.
Last year, Google Sunroof, a project developed to combine imagery technology from Google Maps and Google Earth to map city roofs for solar potential based on shading, positioning, and weather patterns, added Texas cities to its roster.
The project ranked Texas cities as three of the top ten US cities with solar potential, with Houston as #1, San Antonio as #4, and Dallas as #9. How does that translate into powering homes? If Houston reached its 18,940 gigawatt solar potential, the city would produce enough energy to power over 1.7 million homes.
According to Google Sunroof, if San Antonio met its solar potential, with over 92% of its roofs solar-viable, the city would offset over 5.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (the equivalent of 1.1 million passenger cars being taken off the road for a year).
With all this sun-baked potential, solar installers, legislators, corporations, and homeowners are hard at work learning to maximize the state’s most abundant resource. For Texas, it’s a new opportunity to be leading energy exporters, for homeowners it means energy ownership and a cleaner, greener world.