Thursday, July 2, 2015

Solar Electric Production In U.S. Higher Than Estimated

Actual solar photovoltaic electricity production in the United States is 50% higher than previous estimates, according to new analysis by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and kWh Analytics.

All told, analysts found that solar energy systems in the U.S. generated 30.4 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in the 12 months ending in March 2015. Three states - California, Arizona, and Hawaii – can now say that solar provides more than 5% of their total annual electricity demand. (

According to Richard Matsui, Chief Executive Officer of kWh Analytics, the fact that their estimates are so much higher than the EIA’s is not surprising and is not an indicator of subterfuge:
“It’s an open secret among industry watchers that the EIA has been systematically underestimating energy output from solar. It’s not due to any intentional bias against solar itself; for decades, the EIA only collected data from utility-scale power plants because virtually all power plants were utility-scale. The explosion of distributed, rooftop solar in just a few years has created an enormous data management challenge for the EIA.”
Thirty years ago, solar power was an experimental power source. Today, lower production costs, greater dependability and ease of use have led to a wider acceptance of solar technology, making it a major energy source across the nation.

In Texas, solar power is used for a variety of purposes including, powering homes, school crosswalk warning signs and water pumping systems. Texas is ranked first in solar energy potential according to the State Energy Conversation Office (SECO) but is currently only tenth in solar energy production.  Much of that solar capacity is in West Texas, where the sun gives off 75 percent more direct solar radiation than East Texas, according to the State Energy Conservation Office.

With a mostly sunny climate, renewable energy companies are looking at Texas as the next frontier for solar energy production. Blue Wing Farm in San Antonio, the largest solar farm in Texas, demonstrates the potential for photovoltaic electricity production in Texas. The 140-acre site was built in 2010 and generates enough energy to power 1,800 homes.

San Antonio ranks sixth among U.S. cities in installed solar capacity, and Austin ranks 16th, according to a report released last year by the advocacy group Environment Texas.  The City of Austin is building solar farm that will deliver at less than five cents a kilowatt hour. Houston ranked 32nd with a solar capacity of 4 megawatts. Dallas, with 1 megawatt, ranked 44th.

Despite the state’s tremendous potential for solar power, there are few state wide incentives to draw in more green companies. In recent years numerous bills have been filed in the legislature to push for new incentives to energize the industry but very few have passed. In 2011, lawmakers did pass House Bill 362, which prevents homeowners associations from interfering with the installation of solar panels.

Solar power advocates point to the potential for job growth in Texas, as new solar projects continue to pop up across the state. A 2010 National Solar Jobs Census ranks Texas third among states, with an estimated 6,400 solar jobs at 170 companies.

While Texas lags the nation in photovoltaic electricity production, the state leads in wind electricity generation. Read more about Texas' wind electricity generation success by clicking Texas' Wind Energy Industry Survives 84th Legislature.

What Is The Electric Reliability Council Of Texas (ERCOT)?
What Is The Public Utility Commission of Texas?

No comments:

Post a Comment