AUSTIN - Environment Texas launched a campaign today to get Texas cities, including San Antonio, Dallas and Houston, to require that new buildings be optimized for solar energy.
“We cannot miss the opportunity to generate the renewable energy that comes with powering every new home with solar,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas. “The most efficient time to install solar panels is when workers are already on the roof, and by making homes solar, it will lead to healthier and safer communities for years to come.”
Austin, Houston, and Lewisville’s building codes already require new residential buildings to be solar ready. Builders must either install solar or construct houses which can easily incorporate solar PV later. Austin also requires commercial properties to be solar ready, a step the cities of Houston and Dallas pledged to take in recently adopted climate action plans. Nearly half of American homeowners have seriously thought about putting solar panels on their home and almost nine out of 10 Americans favor expanding solar power, according to the Pew Research Center.
A 2018 report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center found that, if builders put solar panels on the 3.2 million new homes and apartment buildings with 280,000 units expected to be built in Texas by 2045, Texas would add a projected 24,719 megawatts (MWs) of solar PV capacity. Such an effort would lead to a ten-fold increase in solar capacity and cut carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 3.2% percent by 2045.
“Solar power is supported by a majority of Americans and building all new homes with solar panels is achievable,” said Metzger. “Americans have made it clear that they want solar power, and by creating a direct path for every new home to include this essential resource, Texas will make a big contribution toward combating climate change and making our state healthier and cleaner.”
Environment Texas’s effort is part of a growing movement. In January, California began serving as an example of what building all new homes with solar power can look like. The implementation of the solar homes rule will help increase that state’s existing solar capacity by 22 percent by 2045. Now, along with Texas efforts are underway in nine other states, including Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania to include solar power in the construction of all new homes.