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Large-scale utility projects have grown rapidly in recent years; Texas ranks seventh in nation

By Ryan Maye Handy

The installed capacity of so-called utility-scale projects — greater than one megawatt, or enough to power 200 homes on a hot Texas day — has increased an average of more than 70 percent a year between 2010 and 2016 to about 21,500 megawatts, with about half of that capacity coming online in the last two years.
Texas has lagged other states in solar power growth, largely because it does not offer any tax credits or other incentives. It also lacks a so-called net metering law which requires utilities to buy excess power from rooftop and other small systems, which also brings down the cost.
Note: Net-metering is offered by some utilities. CPS Energy of San Antonio does have net-metering.
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The problem with wind and solar energy is matching demand. Storing this power in batteries is one solution, and indeed the utilities in my area are beginning to construct large battery storage facilities. But there's another way, and that is the utilities could encourage their customers to install battery storage in their homes and be able to draw from these batteries during peak periods.

My local utility, SDG&E is proposing a plan to encourage residential storage by lowering rates in exchange for allowing them to draw off the battery during peak periods. The plan is to only depleat the battery partially so it would still be available for use by the homeowner. They say this is a win win situation for everyone, lower electricity costs for the homeowner and the utility can refer or offset costs of renewable storage facilities or natural gas power plants to come online during peak periods.

California has sweetened the pot even more with their Self Generation Incentive Program which provides generous rebates for home battery installation which with the Federal tax credit, virtually pays for the battery (unfortunately the initial SGIP funding was sold out the first day, more money will be available for Step 2 applicants but the amount of the rebate is lower).
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