Texas ranks third in residential rooftop solar generation, report says

Mayor Ron Nirenberg joined other state, local leaders to give remarks at a webinar discussing the report

A parking lot in downtown San Antonio with a solar panel cover. (Big Sun Solar)

SAN ANTONIO – A new report out Tuesday ranks Texas third in residential solar power generation as San Antonio continues to spearhead clean energy in the state.

The report, jointly published by the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group, tracked an increase in solar power over the last decade. With the report comes an exploration of advantages and recommended policies to keep rooftop solar on the rise.

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“Today, in Texas you can get your energy straight from your roof,” Luke Metzger, executive director of Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, said. “Why pay for power from a distant plant spewing pollution when we can just soak up the sun on our rooftops?”

Rooftop solar aims to reduce dependency on fossil fuels and ease the strain on the power grid during high electricity demand, among other things. The report said that rooftop solar “is thriving in places with pro-solar policies.”

Residential solar grew by 646% from 2017 through 2022, while small-scale commercial solar grew by 221%. Small-scale solar in Texas generated 2995 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in 2022, an Environment Texas news release said.

Yet, the release said the state ranks 20th in small-sale solar generation per capita.

Solar energy usage is a trend that remains prominent in Texas, especially in San Antonio. Growth around solar can be attributed to local incentive programs, such as those offered by CPS Energy, the release said.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, along with several state and local leaders, gave remarks discussing the report at a webinar Tuesday afternoon.

“As the number one solar producer in Texas, San Antonio will continue leading the clean energy transition in the state,” Nirenberg said. “Equitable distributed solar generation programs will continue to be a key strategy in our effort to reduce carbon emissions and reduce energy cost burden in our city.”

At the state level, Nirenberg expressed a need for urgency to adopt a more diverse range of energy sources.

“We need a more aggressive approach to all energy adoptions at the state level,” he said.

According to the Texas Comptroller’s website, in 2022, Texas’ two highest energy sources were from natural gas-fired and coal-fired powered plants at 42.6% and 16.6%, respectively. Wind power generated 25%, and two nuclear power plants accounted for 9.7%. Their website said that the remainder was filled out by solar, hydroelectric and biomass sources.

The report outlines several ways to incentivize businesses and homeowners to adopt solar, including consistent statewide policies for permitting, rate design and other incentives.

Last year, San Antonio took steps toward its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 by implementing a project to install solar systems across 42 city facilities.

The deal is expected to bring energy savings, offsetting 11% of the city’s electricity consumption on the buildings.

For more on solar panels and how efficient they can be, check out this KSAT Explains.

The full report can be viewed below.

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About the Author

Mason Hickok is a digital journalist at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, reading and watching movies.

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