Texas produces more wind power per person than any other state in the U.S., but its per capita residential solar power capacity is less than one-third the U.S. average in 2017, that despite the state's abundant sunshine, two Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas researchers highlight in a recent report.
"Hot Texas summers and population growth continue to drive record electricity demand. Converting sunlight that would otherwise heat attics into power would seem to hold promise for homeowners. However, compared with other states with similar sunlight penetration, Texas has been slow to adopt residential solar," Benjamin Meier and Jesse Thompson write.
Solar provides just 0.5 percent of electricity generation in Texas, residential solar just 0.1 percent, they highlight.
The researchers put forward several reasons for the slow growth:
- Texas is one of just two states that do not require utilities to purchase surplus energy from residential solar energy systems, i.e. net metering;
- Low electricity prices. What Texas utilities buy back electricity produced behind the meter is below the national average even with net metering. The average price for electricity in Texas is $0.0838 per kilowatt-hour, 20 percent below the national average. That means it takes longer to recoup investments in residential solar power systems.
- The state's low renewable energy generation requirements may be another reason residential solar uptake has been so slow in Texas. "States that lead in residential solar capacity, such as Arizona and California, have adopted renewable energy production targets of 15 percent or more of total power sold, as well as established solar-specific minimum generation requirements to reduce carbon emissions," they point out.