Although the Texas legislature failed to pass solar incentive legislation this session; a bill by Rep. Drew Darby of San Angelo that suggested electricity users in Texas to pay $1 for every residential meter and $5 for every commercial meter to subsidize solar power in Texas died in committee. But where the solar legislation failed, private industry seems to step in. TXU Energy and SolarCity announced Tuesday that they will pony up $ 5 million to encourage and accelerate solar adoption in Texas. The new solar fund will provide a $1,000 incentive for up to 5,000 new or current TXU Energy residential customers who sign up for the solar offer.
“Our goal is to deliver innovative solutions that give customers more choices and flexibility in managing their energy usage”, said Jim Burke, CEO for TXU Energy. “Through our partnership with SolarCity, the national leader in solar service, we are making renewable energy even more affordable for our customers”.
And they are not the only company making a move of solar. Earlier this year Total SA, the world’s fifth largest international oil company launched an offer for San Jose based solar solutions company SunPower, a move that indicates a new direction for energy companies who often have been considered to be at odds with renewable energy.
Customer support for renewable energy sources is also high. According to a survey by Pike Research, a cleantech market intelligence firm, 79 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents have a favorable view of solar energy, and 75 percent liked wind energy.
This is good news for Texas. For even though the state is the leading crude oil producing state in the nation, and the leading natural gas producer, Texas also leads the U.S in wind-powered generation capacity and has over 2,000 wind turbines in West Texas alone. Texas also has an unlimited solar energy supply, ranking first in the nation in solar recourse potential according to SECO, the state energy conservation office. The solar potential is also concentrated in West Texas, which has 75 percent more direct solar radiation than East Texas.