The old adage is that everything is bigger in Texas. The state was the largest in the United States before the acquisition of Alaska, and its broad prairies, pine woods and deserts have made many men rich in cattle, oil and gas over the centuries.
Today Texas is expecting a different sort of boom – a solar boom. Figures released today from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research’s Q2 2016 U.S. Solar Market Insight are in line with predictions made by Brattle Group and Texas grid operator ERCOT in forecasting a very large solar market in the state in coming years.
But while ERCOT and Brattle Group predicted that the state would install 13 GW by 2030 or 2035, respectively, SEIA has focused on a shorter time frame, and expects Texas to install 4.6 GW over the next five years. In 2016 alone, SEIA predicts that the state’s installed capacity of 566 MW will more than double.
SEIA expects the large majority of this to be utility-scale solar, at 4 GW. Two of Texas’ municipal utilities – CPS Energy in San Antonio and Austin Energy in Austin – have already contracted more than 1 GW of utility-scale solar on behalf of their customers, which they expect to come online by 2022.
Much of this is being built in West Texas, with the power delivered by power lines built to transport wind from urban areas in the center and eastern parts of the state.