Texas Shines Bright as a Solar State
October 17, 2023
By Bret Biggart
Texas is a solar state.
That’s the message of my opinion piece last week in the Dallas Morning News. Every single day this summer, solar power showed up to keep the lights on and air conditioners running across Texas.
It’s a sign of things to come. Solar power is growing faster here than anywhere else in the country, because it makes so much sense both for big generators and businesses and homeowners. Especially when paired with battery storage, solar panels can crank out electricity in the heat of the day, when energy use is at its highest, and then batteries can keep the lights on as the sun sets.
This summer alone, solar provided around 15% of the electricity on the Texas grid. It also helped people live more powerfully by keeping bills low with a steady supply of affordable electricity, even as high temperatures ratcheted up demand.
And solar strengthens the state’s energy leadership. It complements gas plants that also help power our grid. This shouldn’t be a zero-sum game between fossil fuels and clean energy; as I wrote:
“It’s well within our state’s history and legacy to add the thermal energy we need and build out consumer-oriented clean energy strategies that protect Texans from high bills and blackouts, and fortify the grid in the process.”
Here’s an excerpt from the piece:
This year’s well-publicized energy conservation calls from ERCOT rarely came in the heat of the hottest days, when air conditioners ran hardest and demand set records. Instead, supply got tightest in the evenings, when the sun dropped faster than energy use. Most conservation calls came around the 7 p.m.-to-8 p.m. hour.
Make no mistake: Meeting Texans’ needs on hot summer evenings is a problem that Texas needs to solve. But it’s a different one than we faced years ago, when the state’s top grid concern was having enough power plants to meet Texans’ need as temperatures topped out.
Solar power can help catalyze an affordable solution that’s focused on consumers, reliability and the state’s energy future.
Click here to read more about how solar power can help Texas solve its energy challenges.