by the numbers

Report: Texas shines as top state for new solar, battery capacity

Texas will make up 35 percent of new utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. this year. Photo via Getty Images

On a state-by-state basis, Texas will account for the biggest share of new utility-scale solar capacity and new battery storage capacity in 2024, a new federal report predicts.

The report, published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), says Texas will make up 35 percent of new utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. this year, followed by California (10 percent) and Florida (six percent).

In 2024, EIA expects a record-setting addition of 36.4 gigawatts of utility-scale solar capacity across the U.S., nearly double last year’s record-setting addition of 18.4 gigawatts. One gigawatt of electric-generating capacity can power an average of 750,000 homes.

“As the effects of supply chain challenges and trade restrictions ease, solar continues to outpace capacity additions from other generating resources,” the report states.

Meanwhile, a new report from the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and the Frontier Group found that Texas ranks third in the U.S. for residential solar power generation. Residential solar power generation in Texas grew 646 percent from 2017 through 2022, according to the report.

A February 2023 poll conducted by the University of Houston indicated that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Texas homeowners are somewhat or very interested in buying a solar energy system.

“Texas is already soaking up the benefits of rooftop solar,” says Luke Metzger, executive director of the Environment Texas center. “With federal tax credits in place to boost solar adoption in Texas, now is the time to lean in. Every sunny roof without solar panels is a missed opportunity.”

In addition to a spike in utility-scale solar, the EIA report forecasts Texas will lead the way this year in the addition of battery storage capacity, with the expected addition of 6.4 gigawatts. In second place is California, with an expected 5.2 gigawatts of new battery storage capacity. The two states will make up 82 percent of new U.S. battery storage capacity in 2024, says the report.

The federal agency predicts 14.3 gigawatts of U.S. battery storage capacity will be tacked on this year to the existing 15.5 gigawatts.

Overall, EIA anticipates solar will make up 58 percent of all new utility-scale electric-generating capacity this year in the U.S., followed by battery storage at 23 percent.

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A View From HETI

Governor Abbott said he was sending a letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas requiring it to investigate why restoration has taken so long and what must be done to fix it. Photo via X/Governor Abbott

With around 270,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he's demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms.

“Power companies along the Gulf Coast must be prepared to deal with hurricanes, to state the obvious,” Abbott said at his first news conference about Beryl since returning to the state from an economic development trip to Asia.

While CenterPoint Energy has restored power to about 2 million customers since the storm hit on July 8, the slow pace of recovery has put the utility, which provides electricity to the nation’s fourth-largest city, under mounting scrutiny over whether it was sufficiently prepared for the storm that left people without air conditioning in the searing summer heat.

Abbott said he was sending a letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas requiring it to investigate why restoration has taken so long and what must be done to fix it. In the Houston area, Beryl toppled transmission lines, uprooted trees and snapped branches that crashed into power lines.

With months of hurricane season left, Abbott said he's giving CenterPoint until the end of the month to specify what it'll be doing to reduce or eliminate power outages in the event of another storm. He said that will include the company providing detailed plans to remove vegetation that still threatens power lines.

Abbott also said that CenterPoint didn't have “an adequate number of workers pre-staged" before the storm hit.

Following Abbott's news conference, CenterPoint said its top priority was “power to the remaining impacted customers as safely and quickly as possible,” adding that on Monday, the utility expects to have restored power to 90% of its customers. CenterPoint said it was committed to working with state and local leaders and to doing a “thorough review of our response.”

CenterPoint also said Sunday that it’s been “investing for years” to strengthen the area’s resilience to such storms.

The utility has defended its preparation for the storm and said that it has brought in about 12,000 additional workers from outside Houston. It has said it would have been unsafe to preposition those workers inside the predicted storm impact area before Beryl made landfall.

Brad Tutunjian, vice president for regulatory policy for CenterPoint Energy, said last week that the extensive damage to trees and power poles hampered the ability to restore power quickly.

A post Sunday on CenterPoint's website from its president and CEO, Jason Wells, said that over 2,100 utility poles were damaged during the storm and over 18,600 trees had to be removed from power lines, which impacted over 75% of the utility's distribution circuits.

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