Sunny with a chance of Texas energy

May 1, 2019   By Arthur Murray

Sunny with a chance of Texas energy

Texas is growing as a solar energy producer.

The first thought that comes to mind when it comes to Texas energy is oil, and that’s legit. The Lone Star State produced about 42% of the domestic crude oil harvest in February, the most recent month for which statistics are available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Savvy energy observers know the state is long on wind, too, generating 27% of the nation’s wind haul.

But many might be in the dark when it comes to Texas’ status in solar energy production. The state produced 288 thousand megawatt hours of electricity from the sun in February – the fourth largest total in the U.S. (For perspective, one megawatt hour is enough to power 750 homes simultaneously.

Following are the 10 states that produce the most electricity from solar power, the amount of electricity they produce (in thousand megawatt hours, and the percentage of the U.S. total electricity generated by solar:

State February 2019 generation
(in thousand megawatt hours)
% of US total
California 2,357 39.3
Arizona 458 7.6
North Carolina 440 7.3
Texas 298 5.0
Nevada 294 4.9
Florida 291 4.9
New Jersey 215 3.6
Massachusetts 208 3.5
Utah 139 2.3
New York 138 2.3

Notable Texas solar farms

  • RE Roserock LLCin Pecos County, 160 megawatts, enough to power more than 17,950 homes.
  • Alamo Solar Farm 5in Uvalde, 95 megawatts, enough to power more than 10,650 homes.
  • Roadrunner solar farm is under construction near Midland. When complete it would have 497 megawatts.

Other states with bright ideas

Still, it’s hard to consider Texas as a major solar power – the state gets only 0.6 percent of its electricity from the sun. The national average is 1 percent.

Of course, one thing that must be considered is sheer volume of electricity produced in Texas – 38,146,731 megawatt hours in January – by far the most in the nation. For perspective, Texas produced far more electricity from solar power than Vermont did from all sources – 196,323 megawatt hours.

Following are the top 10 states in terms of the percentage of their electricity that comes from solar generation:

State % from solar State % from solar
California 9.0 Utah 2.8
Nevada 7.6 Massachusetts 2.7
Vermont 4.1 New Mexico 2.2
North Carolina 3.6 Georgia 2.1
Arizona 2.9 Idaho, Hawaii 1.7

The rest of the Texas energy story

Now that it has been established that Texas gets only 0.6 percent of its electricity from wind power, the question arises: Where does the rest of the state’s energy come from?

Following are the top energy sources for Texas and the percentage of power derived from each:

Following are the top energy sources for Texas and the percentage of power derived from each:

Source Percentage of %
Natural gas 49.4
Coal 22.0
Wind 17.9
Nuclear 8.5
Hydroelectric 0.6
Solar 0.6
Wood 0.2
Other biomass 0.1