Texas Solar Power Association

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Courtesy of CPS Energy

WHY SOLAR FOR TEXAS

Solar power offers a tremendous opportunity for Texas.

Our state has the largest solar resource in the U.S., a growing electricity demand, peak energy needs, persistent drought, and urban air quality constraints. Solar power offers high-value electric supply, unprecedented affordability, zero fuel costs, supply diversity, regional economic development, rapid deployment, zero emissions, very low water use, and nearly universal public support among Texans.

It’s a great match – developing our abundant solar resource will provide a complementary addition to our state’s electricity mix and deliver unique benefits.

A closer look at the solar opportunity for Texas:

ABUNDANT DOMESTIC SUPPLY

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Courtesy of CPS Energy

Sunshine is a powerful natural resource throughout Texas and we have more of it than any other state in the U.S. It is a non-depletable energy reservoir that could generate billions of dollars of new revenue in Texas every year in solar electric generation output and related products and services.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the technical potential for solar photovoltaics (PV) in Texas is:

Capacity (DC)

Energy

Rooftop PV

60,000 MW

78.7 TWh per year

Urban utility-scale PV

154,000 MW

294 TWh per year

Rural utility-scale PV

20,411,000 MW

38,993 TWh per year

By comparison, ERCOT serves 90% of the load in Texas with roughly 77,000 MW (AC) of peak demand capacity and used 347 TWh of energy in 2015. Source: ERCOT Quick Facts

As a domestic energy resource, solar power can also provide energy security, self-sufficiency, and the opportunity for self-generation.

UNPRECEDENTED AFFORDABILITY

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Courtesy of Pecan Street Inc

Expanded and more efficient manufacturing, advanced technology, industry economies of scale and sophisticated financing partners have combined to enable the solar industry to deliver cost-competitive electric service across the globe. Solar power is a smart decision on economics alone.

The cost of electricity from solar has fallen a staggering 85% since 2009 and comes with no price volatility.   Source: Lazard Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis, version 10.0

PROVEN TECHNOLOGY AND MARKET IMPACT

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Courtesy of CPS Energy

The solar industry is providing high-value electric generation in energy markets around the world and is poised to make an impact in Texas.

The U.S. installed 7,260 MW of solar PV in 2015, making solar responsible for almost 30% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity last year. This was an increase of 16% over 2014. Source: GTM Research/SEIA: U.S. Solar Market Insight®

There are now more than 33,000 MW of PV operating in the U.S. up from just 2,000 MW at the end of 2010. Source: GTM Research/SEIA: U.S. Solar Market Insight®

Modern solar power is proven and reliable, with sophisticated power electronics that maximize energy output and grid stability.

Through 2015, Texas has installed 537 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking us 10th nationally. Of this capacity, 69 MW is residential, 58 MW is commercial/industrial and 409 MW is utility-scale.  Source: GTM Research/SEIA: U.S. Solar Market Insight®

With more than 13,700 MW of solar projects under review by ERCOT through January 2017, including more than 2,000 MW with signed interconnection agreements, there is real momentum in the market.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND JOBS

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Courtesy of CPS Energy

The solar industry is a strong source of statewide and regional economic development and jobs. Beyond solar-specific manufacturers and integrators, investment in solar power benefits a wide supply chain of traditional industries including glass, steel, aluminum, construction, and finance.

Lease payments to solar site landowners, local property taxes, sales tax, and spending during construction all help to support local communities.

Texas already has over 7,000 solar jobs through 2015, ranking 6th in the country.  An additional 3,900 workers are spending up to half of their time on solar with traditional industries such as construction and electrical product manufacturing now adding new solar revenue streams to existing business lines.  Source: The Solar Foundation – Texas Solar Jobs Census 2015

With the expected growth in new solar capacity, Texas has tremendous potential for additional solar job growth.

Nationally, the US solar industry employs more than 208,000 workers as of November 2015, representing a growth rate of over 20% in the past year. Source: The Solar Foundation – National Solar Jobs Census 2015

The solar industry is also a strong employer of veterans of the U.S. Armed Services, who constitute 9.7% of all solar workers.  Source: The Solar Foundation – National Solar Jobs Census 2014

KEY PERFORMANCE ATTRIBUTES

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Courtesy of CPS Energy

Solar provides peak power during critical daytime hours and summer months when residential air-conditioning loads raise statewide resource adequacy and system-wide reliability concerns. One-axis and two-axis tracking systems keep panels optimally oriented toward the sun and extend peak coincidence.

Solar power is precisely scalable from less than a single kW to hundreds of MW, located directly at the site of customer load or at larger scales in open field locations to maximize the solar resource and high value nodes.

Solar power generation has no emissions, makes virtually no noise, and has few moving parts.

Solar fuel is free, and that certainty makes solar power a good hedge against future commodity price increases.

Solar power uses little to no water, often limited to dust mitigation during construction and occasional panel washing during operations.

SPECIFIC RETAIL MARKET BENEFITS

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Courtesy of Freedom Solar

Solar power for homes and businesses offers customers the choice to self-generate, with an opportunity to reduce their electricity bills, control future costs and earn an attractive financial return.

Urban or rooftop solar development provides generation where it’s needed, reducing transmission/distribution line losses and potentially reducing congestion.

Customer-sited solar offers new, diverse sources of investment in electricity generation from homeowners, businesses, and other financing partners.

SPECIFIC WHOLESALE MARKET BENEFITS

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Courtesy of CPS Energy

Solar power plants are rapidly deployable and quick to market, delivering better cost certainty and alignment with load needs.

Large-scale solar power development builds on the investment that Texas has made in transmission infrastructure throughout the state and accelerates financial return.

Solar PV power plants have minimal viewshed impact. PV panels are typically mounted on racks or trackers that are no taller than 10 feet off the ground.