To understand the inevitability of Texas solar power, just look at efforts to stop it.
May 24, 2023
By Bret Biggart
Solar power in Texas has become a tale of two states.
In most of Texas, people are embracing solar power for the clean, affordable and predictable power it creates. Working in tandem with gas plants, battery storage and other forms of dispatch-able power, the state’s booming solar industry is helping people live more powerfully.
But in the state Capitol in Austin, solar power and renewable energy are under attack. For more than two years, some state leaders have tried to single out wind and solar power, working to weaken this vital 21st century industry in ways that raise customers’ bills but don’t solve the state’s reliability challenges.
These attacks won’t work. As I recently wrote in the Houston Chronicle, efforts to stop solar power in Texas only prove its inevitability:
… Surprisingly, these efforts to undercut clean Texas energy could really benefit … clean Texas energy — at least, the kind Texans can generate themselves.
Because when power bills go up, so do rooftop solar panels.
For years, residential and rooftop solar has been growing quickly in Texas — it more than doubled between 2019 and 2021, and, according to a solar energy association report, it’s on pace to grow fivefold by 2027.
This massive growth has as much to do with economics and safety as it does with environmental concerns. Solar helps people “live more powerfully” by offering both affordable electricity and, when paired with batteries, backup power that keeps the lights on when neighborhoods suffer blackouts.
If the Legislature passes bills to raise the costs of electricity on the grid, Texans will find home-grown solar power even more attractive.
To be clear, I fundamentally believe Texas needs gas-fired power plants to keep our grid stable. I also think the system works best when renewables and thermal plants work together, with renewables helping keep costs down and thermals helping maintain reliability.
Small-scale solar projects play a critical role in this system, helping solar customers save money and freeing up energy that can go elsewhere on the grid when it’s needed.
But there has to be a balance. Texas’ competitive market, frankly, has done a good job of finding it over the years — especially when you consider that frozen gas lines and power plants, not a lack of solar, were the main cause of the winter 2021 blackouts.
Read more at the Houston Chronicle.
I’m obviously bullish on Texas solar power. It helps keep Texans free and safe from high bills and blackouts. Its growth and development in Texas is extending our state’s energy leadership toward a new frontier.
No matter what happens, solar is the future. It would be better for everyone if our state leaders embraced that future the way consumers are.