The iconic oil derricks of the West Texas horizon may soon be overshadowed, as solar panels and wind turbines drive a renewable energy rush in the oil-rich state.
Some Texas-sized advantages are at play, including:
Many of America’s football stars grew up in West Texas. One of the area’s newest solar projects, called Alamo 6, is the size of 900 football fields. Large-scale solar plants are expected to spread out across the landscape and produce more than 10 percent of the state’s energy by 2029.
The newest generation of emission-free solar power could come from Texas A&M University, which is part of a competition to develop technologies that double the efficiency of each solar panel.
A rugged climate
Wind power already lights up 10 percent of America’s second-biggest state, but the breezes of West Texas are most powerful at night. With solar panels catching the shimmering midday sun, renewable sources can work together to provide reliable, cost-effective power.
This is already happening in Georgetown, a Central Texas city that will purchase all of its electricity from solar and wind generators by 2017.
Plummeting costs, increasing efficiency and the Lone Star State’s sunny climate are making solar energy Texans’ smart economic choice.
“I’m not one of those big tree-hugging people,” said Billy Chapman, construction manager for OCI Solar in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. But “in places like this … solar makes sense.”