Texas Solar Energy Resources Support Renewables Industry
The sun shines bright on the Lone Star State – and not just in a metaphorical sense.
Texas has the greatest solar energy resources and potential in the nation, earning a nod in a 2007 U.S. Department of Energy Study as one of the top states for concentrating the sun's power.
The estimated potential solar capacity of West Texas alone is 351 megawatt-hours, enough to keep a 60-watt lightbulb burning for nearly 668 years.
Austin, Houston and San Antonio were three of 25 cities selected by the Energy Department to participate in the Solar America Cities program, which is intended to serve as a model for the establishment of a solar energy marketplace.
The state is already a hub for solar-focused companies positioned to capitalize on the emerging industry.
In Austin, photovoltaic materials manufacturer HelioVolt received a $1 million award from the Texas Enterprise Fund for construction of a 122,000-square-foot development and manufacturing facility that is expected to generate a $62 million investment.
The state's wealth of innovation and research centered in a network of top-flight universities has also proven a valuable resource in the development of solar technology.
For example, the Center for Electrochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin received a $5 million grant in October 2008 from the Welch Foundation in Houston to establish the Renewable Energy Initiative, which draws on collaboration between a broad swath of stakeholders to catalyze the progress of renewable energy technologies such as solar power.