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Recent data reveals shocking nationwide leader in clean energy capacity — how one state surprisingly outpaced California

The state doubled its solar capacity from 2019 to 2020 and again from 2020 to 2021.

The state doubled its solar capacity from 2019 to 2020 and again from 2020 to 2021.

Photo Credit: iStock

Based on reputation alone, you would probably expect California to significantly outpace Texas in terms of clean, renewable energy development. Recent data tells a different story, however, as Texas has been building out its solar capacity at an astounding pace.

According to the numbers, California, with 15,967 megawatts of utility-scale solar capacity, was around 1,000 megawatts ahead of Texas (14,806 megawatts) at the start of 2023, as reported by Canary Media

Since then, Texas has closed the gap. While California has been developing new solar steadily over the past decade but has leveled off somewhat in recent years, Texas has essentially done the opposite, jumping on the bandwagon around 2016 and increasing its capacity exponentially since then. Texas doubled its solar capacity from 2019 to 2020 and again from 2020 to 2021, based on information from the Solar Energy Industries Association reported by Canary Media.

In October, the Houston Chronicle (@houstonchron) reported that the Lone Star State officially surpassed California for installed solar power.

While Texas has made immense progress developing both solar and wind energy in recent years, continued progress in the state is threatened by some politicians, such as Gov. Greg Abbott, who are reportedly beholden to polluting gas and oil companies that now see renewables as a threat to their profits due.

"[Renewable energy] wasn't seen as a real resource, real threatening," Dub Taylor, the director of the state energy conservation office, told The Texas Tribune in May. "And then suddenly overnight it was."

However, with clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar proving time and time again that they can provide efficient, reliable, less expensive, and more planet-friendly electricity than oil and natural gas, one can only hope that the momentum that has seen Texas surpass California in solar capacity will carry through, leading to even more renewable energy development.

And even with Texas Republicans threatening to block renewable energy projects from accessing state funding and tax breaks that are still afforded to oil companies, more solar has just come online recently or is on the way, including projects in Falls County, Brown County, and Grimes Country, which will add more than 1,000 megawatts in total to the grid.

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