Solar is Big and Bright, Deep in the Heart of Texas

Something big is brewing in the Lone Star State, which has quickly become the new hotspot for the country’s solar power and energy storage sectors. With total solar power generation skyrocketing by 3,700% over the last decade, Texas has staked a credible claim as the renewable energy capital of America.

Let's examine what's making a state known for its fossil fuels, the surprising new frontier for clean energy.


The Lone Star State’s Bright Solar Boom

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and now that includes some big solar numbers.

Texas knocked California off its pedestal in 2023 for the second time in three years to claim the No. 1 spot for new solar installations nationwide. A surge of utility-scale solar installations drove much of the growth, with the state adding nearly 4 GW in just the last quarter of 2023 alone. It's not only utility-scale solar — Texas has become a residential solar powerhouse, ranking third among the states for total residential solar generation.

Overall, Texas solar generation spiked by 35% in 2023 compared to 2022. With almost 23 GW installed, EIA analysts expect ERCOT, the state's primary grid operator, to add another 24 GW between 2024 and 2025. Over the next decade, Texas will lead the nation with roughly 100 GW of new solar capacity additions, nearly double the next closest state. This significant growth in solar capacity, primarily driven by ERCOT, is a testament to Texas' commitment to renewable energy.

So what's the secret sauce? The state has perfect solar conditions, from low development costs to vast open land with low building penetration and high irradiance. Some areas average more than 300 sunny days annually. Additionally, homeowners and businesses can access favorable PV-adoption policies such as the Property Tax Exemption. This incentive lets taxpayers get a discount from their property taxes on any property value increases due to solar installations.

According to a recent University of Houston survey of more than 5,000 Texans, 64% of respondents expressed support for expanded solar development. This appetite for solar energy among Texans highlights the state's position as a leading player in the renewable energy sector.


The Battery Energy Storage Bonanza

But solar is only part of the story. When it comes to energy storage, Texas is poised to be the country’s battery energy storage capital as well. The state started 2024 with around 5 GW of battery storage capacity installed, second only to California's fleet. However, by the end of the year, industry analysts forecast that Texas will blow past California by adding anywhere from 4 GW to more than 6 GW of new battery storage, nearly doubling its current capacity in one year

So why is the battery boom happening in Texas? Like its utility-scale solar sector, the state’s open, available land provides plenty of options to build big battery farms. Compared to other markets, Texas makes it considerably more accessible and faster for EPCs and developers to get projects approved and connected to the grid, with average interconnection queues taking only two to three years instead of up to five or seven in some states.

ERCOT’s deregulated energy market, which allows for competition among energy providers, also incentivizes companies to invest in batteries and start competing without a monopoly utility requiring years of testing. This open regulatory environment has significantly impacted Texas' battery energy storage boom. 


The Solar Manufacturing Mega-Hub

With these big solar and storage numbers, it might be no surprise that Texas has become a prime destination for solar manufacturing in the U.S. No state has seen a bigger solar factory boom than Texas recently. Now home to 11,250 solar jobs, the state’s solar job market is just ramping up.

For example, Trina Solar US is developing a 1.3-million-square-foot PV manufacturing facility in Wilmer, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex. When completed at the end of 2024, the 5GW state-of-the-art facility will bring 1,500 new solar jobs to the area, with the company planning to double the workforce by 2025. The factory’s annual production of Vertex modules using n-type TOPCon advanced technology will be the equivalent of powering half a million homes, making a significant contribution to Texas' solar manufacturing industry and the state's clean energy transition.

Trina is just one of many solar companies setting up shop for inverters, racking, panels, and more across the state. What's luring them there? 

For one, it's hard to beat Texas' tax advantages, such as no corporate income tax, exemptions on sales taxes for manufacturing equipment, and franchise taxes specifically for solar makers.

But Texas also has something else many manufacturers drool over — a massive workforce of more than 15 million people and one of the youngest populations in the country. This young and large workforce, combined with wide open spaces perfect for sprawling mega-factories and the state's pro-business policies, has played a significant role in Texas' solar manufacturing boom. It's no wonder Texas is becoming the U.S. solar manufacturing mega-hub.

Amidst soaring PV installations, surging storage capacity, and booming solar manufacturing, one thing is crystal clear: Texas is rapidly growing into the new center of the country’s renewable energy universe. This fossil fuel state is proving to be an unexpected but remarkably ideal location to foster the clean energy transition.

Maybe it’s time the state updated its slogan to: "Don't mess with Texas solar."

Ready to harness the power of Texas sunshine? Contact us today to learn how you can join the solar revolution!

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