AUSTIN – Dallas experienced the second greatest percentage growth of solar energy in the state last year, according to Environment Texas Research and Policy Center’s new report Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America. Dallas went from 12 megawatts (MW) of solar installed in 2016 to 16.4 MW in 2017, the second greatest percentage growth after San Antonio’s 37% increase.
“Dallas is leading the way to a future powered by clean, renewable energy,” said Luke Metzger, Executive Director of Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “By tapping into more of our vast solar energy potential, we can benefit from cleaner air and fight climate change.”
Dallas ranked 26th in the U.S. for total solar capacity, behind Seattle but ahead of Chicago. With 12.5 watts of solar per person, the report named Dallas a “Solar Builder,” for cities with between 5 and 25 watts of installed solar PV capacity per person.
"We have a moral responsibility to our future generations to promote and sustain a healthy global environment,” said state Representative Rafael Anchia. “I am proud that Dallas has become a trailblazer in these efforts. Our city will carry the title 'Solar Builder' as a badge of honor, and I hope that we continue to demonstrate leadership on this issue."
Solar energy helps Dallas in many ways, including by combating global warming, reducing air pollution, strengthening the electric grid, and stabilizing energy costs for residents. According to a new census of solar jobs by the Solar Foundation, 176 people work in the solar industry in Dallas County.
Dallas has the potential to go much further on solar. According to Google’s Project Sunroof, Dallas has 211,000 total rooftops suitable for solar which together could generate 4,300 MW of energy.
“We are in a moment when progress on renewable energy will come from cities across the country,” said Metzger. “Dallas has shown the difference that local leaders can make by stepping up and plugging their communities into the clean and virtually limitless power of the sun.”
Shining Cities is the fifth annual report from Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. Each year, the survey ranks nearly 70 of the nation’s major cities by megawatts of solar energy. The report includes recommendations for cities to expand their solar use, including setting ambitious goals for solar energy adoption, adopting policies to promote or require “solar ready” or zero net energy homes, and installing solar on municipal buildings and schools.