According to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report, Texas has recorded its best Q1 ever with 49 megawatts (MW) of newly installed solar capacity. This brings the statewide total to 379 MW, which is enough to power more than 66,000 homes, and nearly as much as the entire country had in 2004.
But that’s not all. Texas is still expecting to install more than 200 MW of new solar capacity by the end of 2015. For some perspective, that’s nearly three times more than was installed in 2013.
What’s inspiring the change? Well, the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), for starters. The ITC is a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. The tax credit benefits both companies that install, develop, or finance the projects, as well as homeowners who have the projects installed on their homes.
It has also been a welcome boost to Texas’ economy, as the 404 solar companies in Texas are currently employing more than 7,000 people. $87 million was invested in new solar installations in Texas in the first quarter, and nearly $340 million has been invested since the beginning of 2014.
Finally, from an environmental perspective, solar installations in Texas are helping to offset more than 410,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions. That’s equivalent to removing 86,000 cars off the road or reducing gasoline consumption by 46 million gallons.
Texas is currently only trailing behind five states in new capacity: California, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, and Massachusetts. But you know what they say, “Everything is bigger in Texas.” It’s only a matter of time before they catch up.