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Solar News

The Sun Doesn't Shine Bright In Texas


Solar Funding Legislation Fails To Pass

One of the sunniest states in the union failed to pass significant legislation to aid solar energy development when the Texas legislature failed to approve $500 million in incentives. Not everything is bigger in Texas.

Texas ranks number one in the production of wind energy, but falls outside the top ten in solar energy production. Many blame political dealings for the shortfall of the legislation.

With little financial support or incentives many believe businesses will move elsewhere or fail. Legislation including incentives and rebates could pave the way for individuals and businesses to afford solar panels and spur a boom similar to the one that started with wind a decade ago.

Kirk Ladendorf  from writes about one Texas start-up's decision to relocate.

"Solar Array Ventures is moving to nearby New Mexico to open business. The company announced plans April 11 to start building a 225,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Bernalillo County, N.M., this summer. The plant is expected to have 220 workers when it starts production in late 2010, and that number might grow to 1,000 in five years."

In the article Solar Array's Chief Financial Office Everett "Buddy" Rogers talks about some of the conditions that lead to the decision to relocate.  

" 'New Mexico took us seriously when we were very early in the incubator stage. Which was something that was quite difficult for many states to do, including Texas. New Mexico made us a reasonable offer and allowed us to go to our investors. In Texas, it was more like, Get your funding and then come see us. New Mexico provided $40 million over several years in incentives for relocation.' "   

States are becoming predatory in hopes of luring companies to locate within their borders. Nashville Online writes about one Tennessee state senator, Jim Kyle of Memphis, welcoming businesses to the state.

"Legislators in Texas have yanked the welcome mat for an industry that could pay huge dividends for their economy, who is a sponsor of the governor's energy bill. To any company that had an eye on Texas, we say come on up to Tennessee."

Texas isn't alone in failing to pass legislation promoting solar development. Miami Herald writer John Dorschner writes about the failings in Florida.

"The renewable saga began in July 2007 when Crist asked the Public Service Commission to develop rules to make power companies produce 20 percent of their electricity from renewables to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At least 25 states already have such standards. They did it because the Legislature in 2008 ordered them to do it. After sifting through thousands of pages of documents and sitting in lengthy workshops, the Public Service Commission sent its recommendations to the 2009 Legislature. A renewable-energy bill passed the Senate but died in the House. The result: A year of work wasted."