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The New York Times reported today that the Texas State Legislature voted down a measure over the weekend that would have brought solar incentives to this sunny, southern state. For a state with a lot to gain from solar, why would they do such a thing?Not only does this hurt homeowners interested in getting solar and a little relief on their electric bill, but it also means a waste of what could thousands of jobs, as well as, a loss of revenue for companies working in the solar industry. After legislation failed earlier to require Texas to create extra requirements on solar, wind and biomass for their renewable portfolio standards, the legislature denied over USD$500 million in rebates for homeowners purchasing solar.
To add insult to injury, more solar bills from this "solar session" failed including one that would make it harder for HOAs to deny residents solar panels. Several solar companies are considering locating their manufacturing plants in Texas, meaning a large source of revenue and jobs for the state but this latest round of rejection has them biding their time again. For one final spoonful of bad news, the Texas Legislature only meets every two years, so unless the government acts fast and drags the officials back in for a special session, Texas won't consider solar incentives again until 2011.
Texas is the largest producer of electricity from wind and could be a leader in solar but currently does not even rank in the top 10 of states producing solar, despite being the second most populous state in the US. The only bill that did pass is one that allows homeowners to pay back the cost of the solar panels through extra property taxes over 20 years.
:New York Times
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