Everything Under the Sun: A Guide to Siting Solar in the Lone Star State
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Encouraging energy production using renewable resources is a widely recognized public policy that is promoted by both the federal and state governments in the U.S., and with recent technological advances, renewable-electricity generation is rapidly becoming economically viable. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that electricity production from all renewable sources will increase 72% between 2013 and 2040, with the renewable share of total U.S. electricity generation growing from 13% to 18%.1 The future of solar power is especially bright with a projected growth rate of 6.8% per year between 2013 and 2040. If this projection holds true, solar power will far outpace the growth of other renewables. Combined with the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) introduced in 2006, rapid improvements in photovoltaic (PV) solar panel efficiency and dramatic reductions in PV costs are driving a veritable solar boom in the U.S. In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports a 73% decrease in the cost of installing solar since the implementation of the ITC, and anticipates an additional 20,000 Megawatts (MW) of solar generation capacity will come online in the next two years, doubling current U.S. solar capacity. Likewise, the EIA projects that solar power will account for nearly half of the total 109,000MW of renewable-generation-capacity that is expected to be added to the U.S. electricity grid by 2040.