The amount of solar energy installed within Austin city limits grew 27 percent last year, making Austin 17th in the nation in terms of local solar capacity.
That’s according to a new report from the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center, entitled, “Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power In America.” Each year, the survey ranks nearly 70 of the nation’s major cities by megawatts of locally-installed solar energy. In 2017, the city of Los Angeles topped the list. San Antonio was sixth.
A quick note about the report – It does not include any solar installed outside of city limits, like Austin’s utility-scale solar projects that are located in west Texas. These big solar projects contribute to Austin’s trajectory of getting 65 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2027. However, recently there has been more of a push to invest in solar power locally because of the jobs it provides and the energy it saves (by not having to travel all the way from west Texas).
As Environment Texas points out in a press release announcing the unveiling of this year’s report, a new census of solar jobs by the Solar Foundation found that 1327 people work in the solar industry in Travis County, the most in the state.
Environment Texas also contends that Austin has room to grow its solar industry, pointing to figures from the U.S. Department of Energy which found that 1,443 MW of solar could be installed on small buildings alone in Austin. (To put that in perspective, at the end of 2017, Austin had only 39.4 MW). You can read the entire “Shining Cities” report here>>