Fraser's Legislation Encouraging Solar Energy Passes Committee
AUSTIN — Legislation authored by Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) that would provide additional incentives for residents and businesses to purchase solar energy in Texas was approved unanimously by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on Tuesday.
"Texas has been extremely successful in establishing clean, efficient energy from renewable resources," said Fraser. "This legislation providing for solar generation as another source of renewable energy is a very positive step for the people of Texas."
"We take pride in the fact that Texas is recognized as the national leader in renewable energy - especially wind generation," stated Fraser. "Senate Bill 545 allows our state to become more energy independent and meet our renewable energy goals through the installation of solar generation."
The legislation incorporates concepts from several different Senate bills that were introduced this session. In particular, the committee substitute would:
- Increase the distributed solar generation incentive program to raise $100 million each year for five years to subsidize solar and energy storage installations in Texas and allow the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to extend the incentive program for an additional five years;
- Allow the PUC to direct the development of utility scale solar in West Texas in order to maximize the utilization of the transmission lines built through the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) program;
- Provide for a rebate for solar products manufactured wholly or substantially in Texas;
- Authorize the State Energy Conservation Office to establish a revolving loan program to help school districts install solar systems on their schools;
- Establish net metering policies that require customers to receive real time market price for exported energy or to receive any other acceptable offer from a retail electric provider;
- Prohibit a homeowners association from disallowing homeowners from installing solar, with certain exceptions; and
- Require homebuilders in new subdivisions to offer solar as an option for new home buyers.
"Texas has been the national leader in renewable standards and it is important that the Legislature continue to look for ways to allow our state to become more energy independent," stated Fraser. "Today, we have moved one step closer to this goal."
"This legislation will encourage economic growth in Texas while still meeting our energy independence goals," said Fraser. "I look forward to continuing to work with my Senate and House colleagues on SB 545 as it moves through the legislative process."