We’re already known as the Live Music Capital of the World, as well as the home of some of the best breakfast tacos around. Now Austin, Texas, can also add Solar Energy Leader to its impressive resume. Curious about why Austin tops the list of green US cities? Keep reading to find out how our quirky city is helping reshape our nation’s energy conversation with the simple act of harnessing homegrown sunshine.
Austin Energy Takes the Gold Ribbon for Solar Energy in the US
According to the Environment Texas Policy and Research Center’s Shining Cities 2020 report, Austin is now number one in the nation when it comes to municipal solar power available per person. Thanks to publicly owned utility provider Austin Energy, the city was able to supply more than 1,500 watts of solar energy per person to its customers, beating out the municipally owned utilities of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Antonio.
As for the amount of solar energy generated within city limits, Austin emerged as 14th in the United States and was ranked second in the state of Texas, just behind San Antonio.
The Shining Cities 2020 report indicates that Austin emerged as the leader for a few reasons. First, there are several solar farms in West Texas that feed energy into Austin, so it’s more than simply roof panels generating all that energy. Second, our city is big on solar-focused public policy, investments, and programs, as well as financial incentives that drop the cost of solar panels in Austin. These include:
A solar rebate. Austin Energy offers a flat $2,500 post-installation rebate for customers who go solar. In order to receive the rebate, customers must take a training course and hire an Austin Energy approved contractor.
Net metering. This utility billing mechanism pays homeowners for the solar energy they contribute to the energy grid. When your PV setup produces more electricity than your home requires, that excess power is sent to the grid. In return, your utility company pays you a specific amount for each kWh (kilowatt hour) of solar electricity you send to the grid, in the form of a net metering credit on your energy bill. This is slightly different in Austin, however. Austin Energy actually offers energy credits to customers for all of the electricity they produce, not just the excess sent to the grid, which is even more reason to install solar panels in Austin! Learn more about the Austin Energy Value of Solar (VoS) Rate works.
Utility Scale Energy Storage + Solar PV. Austin is home to two grid-scale energy storage systems. Thanks to the La Loma Community Solar Project, Austin residents can use solar energy even if they do not have their own solar setup installed. And the Mueller neighborhood has one of the largest concentrations of solar installations in Austin, with around 2 MW generated in the area. It’s all part of the Austin SHINES project, which aims to meet the City of Austin's climate protection vision of achieving 100 percent carbon-free energy generation by 2035.
Looking for Solar Companies in Austin?
Take a walk around any Austin neighborhood — trendy East Austin, laid-back Barton Hills, family-friendly Mueller — and you’ll spot plenty of homes outfitted with sleek solar panels. But it’s more than just green-minded homeowners that contribute to Austin’s impressive energy profile, because plenty of businesses in the capital city choose clean, sustainable energy, too.
If you’re an Austin home or business owner who wants to harness the power of the sun’s energy, you’ve come to the right place. As the number-one residential solar installer in Texas, Freedom Solar has installed solar panels in countless Austin homes and even well-known businesses such as Whole Foods and Office Depot. We’re here to help you join the solar revolution — and our installations are quick, simple, and safe. Contact us today and get started on a lifetime of sustainable energy.