Today, a solar developer and CPS Energy, a utility in San Antonio, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for a 400 megawatt (MW) solar plant. It’s expected to be the largest project in all of Texas and one of the largest in the U.S.
Interestingly, for Texas, record-breaking heat waves and subsequent brownouts make solar a no-brainer. Solar tends to produce at its highest output in the middle of the day, when people are cranking their air conditioners and energy demand also tends to be highest.
Given the ideal climate conditions, many utilities in Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and other areas throughout Texas have begun offering incentives to solar developers, in order to add more solar to their energy portfolios.
The PPA deal is a big step for Texas solar, but also for the U.S. solar energy industry overall: In a post-Treasury Grant environment, a variety of new markets are springing up as solar hot spots and driving further growth.
Another example, in New York City and its surrounding areas, is the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) PON 2156 and PON 2484, which unleashed more than $60 million in performance-based incentives for solar energy systems.
Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Vermont, Washington D.C., and even Puerto Rico are all springing up as potentially hot markets as well.
From a PR perspective, this poses a new opportunity. While the majority of solar companies continue focus on California net metering or the new bill signed by Governor Christie in New Jersey, new and lesser-known areas aren’t being discussed nearly as much.
If you’re in charge of the business development and/or marketing efforts at a solar company, local programs to generate media in emerging markets should be a top priority to take advantage of this trend.
Posted by Dan O'Mahony on July 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM