On April 24-25, solar industry leaders and policymakers from around the nation and beyond met at the Texas Capitol to chart a course for Texas' solar future. The event, sponsored by a number of organizations including Texas Interfaith Power & Light, drew more than 400 attendees. Keynote speakers included former Texas Public Utility Commissioner Pat Wood, who is widely credited with spearheading the development of the Texas wind industry through Texas' unique renewable portfolio standard, and Alexander Karsner, Assistant Secretary of the US Department of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Without exception, speakers at the event stressed the urgency of climate change and escalating prices for conventional power, and the need for Texas to move quickly to deploy significant solar projects at both the utility and consumer scales. "The technology, the economics, the opportunity are all on our side," said Karsner, "and time is not."
Texas receives more solar radiation than any other state and is number one in terms of its solar potential. According to an analysis by the Renewable Energy Policy Project, Texas could attract five billion dollars in investment and create six thousand new jobs by the year 2015 in the photovoltaic industry alone, with the right incentives. Texas is a natural world leader in this important industry, but as the rest of the global solar industry is growing at an astounding rate, Texas has not kept pace and lacks a clear roadmap for the future.
Power Points from the Conference
(Photo "solar panels" by User Christine used under a Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike License.)