An industrial-scale solar boom has begun in an unlikely location: the heart of oil country. Texas has been expanding its renewable energy sector, sending a strong message to utility providers across North America that solar is a smart investment, even without the incentives that have driven adoption in other states, such as California and North Carolina. One Texas county in particular, Pecos, located on the southern rim of the oil-rich Permian Basin, will host at least three large-scale solar farms from First Solar, SunEdison and Canadian Solar. Texas residents can expect an additional 10,000 to 12,500 megawatts of solar generating capacity by 2029.
That’s roughly the current capacity of all other U.S. solar farms combined. Texas’ solar boom builds on a nearly $7 billion transmission-line investment that will move electricity from wind and solar to metropolitan consumers.
Josh Brewer is an Assistant Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS who covers Renewable Energy, Green Homes, Omega Fatty Acids Nutrition, and Nature and Environment.