Solar energy grows 30 percent in Texas, keeping pace with country

(Bob Owen/San Antonio Express News)
(Bob Owen/San Antonio Express News)

Solar power continues to grow at a fast clip around the country, even in Texas, which has long lagged behind, according to the federal government.

A report released Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows the capacity of solar installations grew by more than 32 percent nationwide last year. Between rooftop systems and sprawling solar farms, that works out to almost 2 percent of the entire electrical capacity in this country.

More than half of that solar capacity, almost 10,000 megawatts, is in California. Texas counts less than 350 megawatts installed, with almost two thirds of that capacity coming in the form of utility-scale systems.

Even as Texas grew by 30 percent last year, on a per capita basis Texas lags far behind other southwestern states where the consistent sunshine creates an attractive environment for solar developers.

With a population of of 27 million, Texas counts the same solar capacity as New Mexico, population 2.1 million.