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Texas in Top 10 Solar States, Report Says

A new report says that Texas ranked 10th in installations of solar power in 2010, a jump from the previous year. But this is unlikely to deter solar proponents pushing for more legislative incentives.

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A report released Thursday morning puts Texas as the 10th-largest solar photovoltaic market in the country for 2010, up two spots from its 2009 ranking. 

The study's author, Shayle Kann, of Greentech Media, says that this kind of growth is promising considering Texas doesn't have nearly as many incentives as other leading solar states like California and New Mexico. The study shows that interest in solar is rising, Kann said, though the incentives aren't growing at the same pace.

"It's much more driven at the individual utility level," Kann said. "There's no statewide program that drives people to this kind of energy." 

The Blue Wing solar project in San Antonio, turned on last November, accounted for much of Texas' jump. it provides nearly two-thirds of the photovoltaic solar energy installed in Texas last year. It is a project of CPS Energy, San Antonio's utility. Another large proposed solar project, in Marfa, has stalled.

Proponents of solar power in Texas will continue to push for new incentives to energize the industry in this big, sunny state. State Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin, has filed several bills this session that offer incentives to solar providers, although some of the same bills failed to pass last session. Strama said he was concerned that Texas may get beaten out in the race to lure jump-start the solar industry.

"It's not a report that makes me breathe a sigh of relief," Strama said. "Other states are positioning themselves in this emerging industry more aggressively than Texas. I think we have an opportunity to put a stake in the ground and say that we're committed to this industry."

Another bill, filed by state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, would provide a rebate to businesses or homeowners who install solar.

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