Its Time For Solar Power In Texas  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Houston Chronicle has an editorial calling for expanded use of solar power in Texas - Now it's time for Texas to develop solar power industry.

Texans have never been afraid to take advantage of an opportunity — particularly when it comes to energy.

Over the decades, Texans have relied on private enterprise — coupled with a supportive hand from state government — to develop the state’s wealth of energy resources: oil and gas, coal, nuclear power and, over the last decade, wind. Texas’ recent experience with wind power – fueled by wise choices by the Texas Legislature – has created thousands of jobs and millions in new tax revenue.

Yet, wind power isn’t the only renewable energy source with the potential to transform Texas’ economy and our environment. Indeed, the sun that strikes our buildings and soil each day has the potential to power the state many times over — and the technologies needed to harvest that energy are already here. Add to that our vast untapped reserves of energy efficiency and we’ve got ourselves homegrown resources that can more than meet the growing demand for energy.

The question facing Texas is whether we will continue to lead the clean energy revolution — bringing good jobs and clean power to our state — or whether we will lag behind. Already, states such as California and New Jersey — and nations such as Spain, Germany and Japan — are taking the lead in solar power development and reaping the benefits of their investment. While in 1999 Texas became the first state in the nation to create an energy efficiency resource standard, today we have fallen behind, ranking just 25th in the nation for utility investment in energy efficiency. Here in Texas, we know how to build cutting-edge industries from the bottom up. Our state’s role in the creation of the Microcomputer Consortium and Sematech led to the creation of a multibillion-dollar manufacturing center in Texas that has employed tens of thousands of people. We now stand at similar crossroads in the development of solar power and energy efficiency technologies. The good news is that the Texas Legislature is taking this opportunity seriously. More than 100 bills have been filed to incentivize solar power and energy efficiency.

The best way for Texas to ensure a future expansion in solar power capacity is by committing to a 10-year market development program that includes financial incentives and new building design policies, allowing us to develop 4,000 megawatts of solar by 2020 — the equivalent of solar on more than 1 million rooftops. Experience in California and in other countries, especially Germany, has shown that such government programs can lead to increased demand and lower prices — the first steps on the road to a robust, self-sufficient solar market in which government incentives are no longer necessary.

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