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Texas emerging as fastest-growing US solar market

Texas will install 4.6GW of PV capacity within the next five years, behind only California among US states, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The forecast new capacity will include 4GW of utility-scale with the balance commercial, community and residential.

"Texas is entering a period of unprecedented solar growth, dominated by a massive uptick in utility-scale solar deployment across the state," says Tom Kimbis, SEIA's interim president.  

"This strong demand for solar energy is generating thousands of well-paying jobs for Texans, hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefits, and providing customers with another option for meeting their electricity needs. And the best part – this solar boom is just beginning," he adds.

In 2016, Texas’ solar capacity will double from 566MW on 1 January, GTM and SEIA forecast in their earlier released US Solar Market Insight, Q2 2016.

They say Texas is on track to become the fastest-growing utility-scale solar market in the US within five years. Two factors driving rapid growth there are innovation and cost declines, Kimbis says.

Others are some of the highest insolation in the Americas; large tracts of cheap, suitable land; lower regulatory costs; above-average electricity demand and available transmission – at least for the next several years.

Most top global solar developers have either announced large PV projects or are scouting sun-drenched West Texas for property with an eye to building some.

GTM and SEIA say there are nearly 500 solar companies presently at work throughout the value chain in Texas, employing more than 7,000 people, representing manufacturers, contractors, project developers, distributors and installers.