This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
In weather like this, itâ€™s easy to see why global players like Starbucks and Facebook are investing in solar power throughout Texas.
Thereâ€™s a solar movement happening in Houston, including on a residential scale. Jimmy Garrett runs KW Solar and he’s seen our growth firsthand.
â€śFor the most part, weâ€™ve reached a point where you can find a good spot to put solar on just about any home,â€ť Garrett said.
Thatâ€™s especially true of homes here in Texas, where the solar industry seems to have a bright future.
â€śTexas has become the second fastest growing solar market in the country now,â€ť Garrett said. â€śSo we expect it to be a boom in Texas for several years to come.â€ť
If recent growth continues, Texas has the potential to beat out California for the No. 1 spot. The amount of solar installations in Texas increased by 50% in 2018. According to Green Mountain Energy, thatâ€™s enough to power over 350,000 homes.
â€śOver the next five years, so by the end of 2024, we expect it to triple again,â€ť Solar and Strategic Partnerships Manager Daniel Richmond of Green Mountain Energy said.
Companies like Green Mountain are putting major resources behind the solar movement in Texas, especially near Houston and Dallas.
â€śWeâ€™re trying to change the culture and instill a culture of being more renewable, more sustainable and more environmentally friendly,â€ť Richmond said.
But for homeowners, the motivation may be a different kind of green.
â€śPutting a system on your roof now in most cases should cost less than the alternative of buying electricity from the grid,â€ť Garrett said. â€śSo the primary motivation by far is saving money.â€ť
The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that prices have dropped 47 % over the last five years. This is also the last year for a 30% federal rebate on residential solar.
What was once a luxury has become a practical option for many.
â€śSo over time you recoup all that up front investment, but with a finance system, youâ€™re really saving money immediately from day one,â€ť Garrett said.
In the solar market, those savings can last all year through a system called net metering.
â€śAny time you have a panel in the sunshine, itâ€™s going to make electricityâ€ť Garrett said. â€śEssentially itâ€™s the exact same thing as whatâ€™s coming from the grid at any time. If youâ€™re generating more power than youâ€™re consuming, youâ€™ll actually push that electricity back through your meter. If you live in an area where you have the old style meter, you can actually see that meter spin backwards.â€ť
In a city as big as Houston, energy companies appreciate that extra generating power. And theyâ€™re willing to pay you for it.
â€śWhen a customer has solar on their rooftop, they get credit at 100% of what they pay for any energy that they send back to the grid,â€ť Richmond said in regards to Green Mountainâ€™s policy.
You likely wonâ€™t see a check for that money, but you will see it in your energy bill.
â€śNet metering allows you to use the grid to store the extra and use it when you need it later,â€ť Garrett said.
The impact of the industry goes far beyond individual homes. According to the SEIA, solar currently supports nearly 10,000 jobs in Texas.
â€śAs the industry continues to grow, weâ€™ll see those benefits keep accruing back to Texas and back to Texans,â€ť Richmond said.
If residential solar isnâ€™t right for you, companies like Green Mountain are investing in massive solar arrays, so you can still go solar without owning your own panels.