is micro-solar getting cloudy in Austin?
Article in today's local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman, about solar in the city and a desire by the city to support macrosolar (solar farms in West Texas) instead of microsolar (solar on roofs here in Central Texas). Local microsolar currently has about 6 megawatts of capacity (out of 2,800 megawatts of total capacity). The city has a goal of having 200 megawatts of solar capacity by 2020 (which ain't all that far away). The city could continue with incentivizing local microsolar, but it's twice as expensive compared to larger solar farms: 22 cents per kilowatt-hour versus 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. And given the criticism Austin Energy is taking for raising rates (the first rate increases in 18 freakin' years, fer cry eye!), it's hard to fault them for pursuing a more affordable path toward more expensive renewables.
The local solar industry is not happy with the plan and has pressed for the creation of Local Solar Advisory Committee to advise city council on microsolar, something the council will vote on Thursday. The local industry points to the local jobs created with solar here as opposed to solar over there in West Texas. Perhaps a combined local goal for micro solar and broader goal for overall solar is the path. We shall see.
Read the full article here.
[photo from Wikipedia]