Why Solar Energy Production Matters in San Antonio
Like everything else in Texas, energy consumption and production is bigger. As an energy-exporting state with numerous surrounding areas relying on the Lone Star State’s energy production, the need for solar in San Antonio and other larger metropoles throughout the state is growing.
But renewable energy is nothing new here. Texas took the lead in wind energy generation some years ago but is now looking toward solar energy as a complementary renewable energy source. In 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) named Texas the fourth-best state for solar power and second in projected solar generation, positioning wind and solar as a dyad worthy of replacing our country’s fossil fuel paradigm.
With ERCOT’s recent struggle to provide enough energy, San Antonio needs to look outside the box if it is going to continue exporting electricity to other states.
San Antonio’s Room for Renewable Energy Growth
Although solar is thriving in San Antonio, it has plenty of room to grow. In 2019, solar power only composed 1.03 percent of the electricity produced in Texas. With San Antonio being a little over 5 percent of the state’s total population and functioning as the second-largest city in Texas, San Antonio’s change in solar power habits could create a trickle-down effect throughout the state.
The average horizontal irradiance for Texas is between 6.2 and 4.7 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day. The United States horizontal irradiance levels range from 7 to 1 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day, making Texas one of the more predictable and consistent places for solar installations. The grid capacity of Texas combined with solar is a solution that makes exporting energy to surrounding states for the foreseeable future. San Antonio is already home to nine operating solar projects between 1 and 39 megawatts, with a 5 MW project underway. The rest of Texas has several other solar projects in the works or up and running as well.
Solar Farms in Texas
Large scale solar, often called solar farms, takes quite a bit of land, which makes it not as viable an option. However, when farmers use part of their farmland for solar, it can cut costs. Agriculture is an industry that is better off with solar, especially when farmers implement dual-use farming technics and crops. Given Texas’s landmass and agriculture-intensive economy, solar farms are increasing in popularity in this area at a faster than average pace.
The Impact that Solar Laws have on Energy Production
Laws have an impact on whether a state is a good fit for solar. Regardless of how much sunlight they have, state governments that don’t support the growth of solar negatively impact their local economies and the solar industry as a whole.
Texas doesn’t have any laws that strongly influence solar installations. Meaning that although Texas doesn’t have many state endorsements for this energy option, it also isn’t hindering it. However, CPS Energy has a strong net metering policy for San Antonio residents, which is pushing things in the right direction.
However, solar-powered legislation aside, one of Texas’s downfalls for renewable energy is the sheer complexity imposed by its status as an unregulated electricity market. This adds an additional layer of complexity to what homeowners must know to understand the benefits of solar energy in the San Antonio area.
However, this complexity also fuels greater competition among electricity providers, reducing prices on coal-based power. Unless a homeowner lives in an area controlled by a cooperative or municipality, the residents can choose from a plethora of electricity companies. These companies are not required to offer net metering to their customers, although some of the larger ones do.
Net Metering Options in Texas
Making sure the home’s electricity provider has a net metering policy in place is a must. San Antonio is one of the few cities in Texas with a non regulated utility.
As a municipality, CPS Energy offers its customers net metering and residential solar incentives. Surrounding cooperatives also offer favorable solar generation incentives to the greater San Antonio area.
The projected solar growth in Texas is one of the reasons why so many San Antonians are participating in solar and installing arrays of their own. Don’t miss out on the opportunity the sun is giving this great state. Take a look at what solar has to offer you through a no-obligation quote.