Solar power currently accounts for just 1 percent of energy generation in Texas, but that’s all about to change. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), solar generation capacity will double across the state in 2020, before almost doubling again in 2021.
Additionally, some experts believe the declining cost of utility-scale batteries, which will allow companies to store energy to use when the sun isn’t shining, could help solar power have a similarly explosive impact on the Lone Star State’s energy market as wind power over the past two decades.
The positive outlook for solar in Texas is primarily being driven by technological improvements that are making solar panels cheaper to install. In addition, Texas has one of the sunniest climates in the country. The state is also benefiting from a rush by solar developers to install facilities before federal tax credit programs aimed at supporting solar expire in 2022.
With Texas energy prices up this year by an average of 43 percent, solar developers have an extra incentive to invest. However, according to Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer at the University of Houston, the longer-term effect of more solar power will be to push prices down. “That will stabilize prices and make $9,000 per megawatt hour a distant nightmare possibility never to be seen again in Texas,” he says.