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Small-Scale Solar Installations Boom In Texas And Florida

Small-scale solar installations in Texas and Florida have been rapidly growing in recent years, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday.

Strong solar resources, state incentives, and some policy changes have been driving small-scale solar growth in Texas and Florida, the EIA said.

Texas has a property tax exemption for the added home value from rooftop solar installations, which has been encouraging small-scale solar growth. Last year, small-scale solar capacity in Texas jumped by 63 percent, rising from 670 megawatts (MW) in 2019 to 1,093 MW, the EIA said.

Residential solar capacity in Florida surged by 57 percent to 773 MW last year from 492 MW in 2019.

Florida has removed restrictions on leased solar systems, which has encouraged small-scale solar growth in the state.  

Without the restriction, removed in 2018, electricity customers can lease solar systems with little or no upfront costs, making solar PV more widely financially feasible and resulting in immense growth in residential solar PV installations across the state, the EIA noted.

As of December 2020, the U.S. states with the most installed small-scale solar capacity were California with 10.6 gigawatts (GW), New Jersey with 1.9 GW, and Massachusetts with 1.8 GW. Last year, the United States as a whole added a total of 4.5 GW of small-scale solar capacity, with California accounting for 31 percent, the largest share by far, according to EIA estimates.

In the third quarter of 2020 alone, residential installations in the U.S. rose by 14 percent from Q2, after shelter-in-place orders during the spring caused the largest quarterly decline in history in the second quarter. The residential solar market beat recovery expectations, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie said in their most recent report on the U.S. solar market.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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