AUSTIN – San Antonio ranked 7th nationwide and 1st in Texas for solar energy capacity in the sixth edition of Shining Cities 2019: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy, a new report by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. The group pointed to a new solar energy bulk purchasing program available through the state and bills in the Legislature as opportunities to further boost the region’s use of solar energy.
San Antonio added 25.9 megawatts (MW) of solar in 2018, including at multiple H-E-B locations, the Will Smith Zoo School and the San Antonio Federal Credit Union. With a total of 186.9 MW of solar energy capacity installed by the end of 2018, San Antonio ranked 1st in Texas and the South Central U.S. and was ahead of Indianapolis and just behind New York City in the national rankings. Austin had 50.6 MW, El Paso 38 MW, Houston 20.9 MW and Dallas 9.6 MW.
“Each year we harness more and more of the enormous solar energy potential in Texas,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas. “We still have a long way to go, but Texas cities are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”
Environment Texas also highlighted the incredible growth for solar energy in Houston. The city added 11.4 megawatts (MW) of solar in 2018, more than doubling its total solar capacity. For the first time the report also looks at solar capacity in the broader Houston metro area. Beasley in Fort Bend County had 12 MW, Katy 3.25 MW, Richmond 1.68 MW, Cypress 1.57 MW, Humble 1.12 MW and Pearland 1.06 MW.
Metzger encouraged local governments to join the Texas Power Pool, a program of the State Energy Conservation Office which helps cities, counties and universities to aggregate their purchases of electricity to buy solar power at competitive rates. He also pointed to bills in the Legislature which would boost solar energy. HB 2860 (Raymond) would protect the rights of homeowners to install solar on their properties and SB 2068 (Menendez) would require new buildings be “solar ready.”
Solar energy helps Texas in many ways, including by combating global warming, reducing air pollution, strengthening the electric grid, and stabilizing energy costs for residents.
This year’s Shining Cities survey ranks 69 of the nation’s major cities by solar energy capacity. Honolulu ranks first overall for solar energy capacity per capita, while Los Angeles places No. 1 in total solar energy capacity installed.
Environment Texas is a non-profit advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces.