Solar power continues to grow in Texas, new research finds, and that growth is due in part to another renewable energy the state has in abundance: wind.
The Solar Energy Industries Association released a report Tuesday showing that Texas jumped up one place to sixth among states when it comes to solar power production.
SEIA believes Texas will move to second place, behind California, by 2021, as more solar farms are built in West Texas near existing wind farms.
“The reason for that is that solar’s energy production and wind’s energy production mostly occur at different times a day,” says Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs. “So you can build solar and wind in close proximity to one another and they can share those transmission lines.”
Despite the tariffs on Chinese solar panels imposed by the Trump administration, the price of solar power continues to drop, the report found.
“Not only is it now just as cost effective to build a new solar plant as it is to build a new gas plant,” Gallagher said, “but it's often more cost effective to build a new solar plant than it is to keep running an existing coal power plant or gas plant.”
While the amount of solar energy produced in Texas continues to grow, solar accounts for less than 1% of electricity consumed in the state.