Texas is a top state for residential solar panels. According to Google Project Sunroof, 90% of Texas buildings are solar friendly. But what are the top cities for solar panels in Texas? And why are they the best cities to consider rooftop solar? Here’s our summary of the best cities for solar in Texas, based on third party data.
Why is Texas a Great Place to Go Solar?
Texas in general is a great place to consider rooftop solar. Here are just a few reasons why:
- It’s sunny here. Texas has an average of 237 sunny days per year.
- Texas electricity rates are skyrocketing and are higher than they have been in 10 years.
- You can increase your home value without increasing your property tax, thanks to Texas law.
- Take advantage of federal tax credits for solar, available through 2030.
- You can get rebates from Texas utilities, depending on where you live.
- Grid security and independence.
- Ability to sell excess solar power back to the grid, known as solar buyback electricity plans.
So really, no matter where you live in Texas, you should look into solar panels for your home.
What Makes a City in Texas Best for Solar Panels?
Deciding what makes a city the “best” for solar panels depends on how you define best.
- Is it best in terms of how easy the city makes it to go solar?
- Best in terms of most solar power installed in the area?
- Or is it best in terms of the amount of sunshine?
Here’s a look at all three ways to measure the best Texas cities for solar.
SolSmart – Best Solar-Friendly Cities in Texas
The SolSmart program, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office, recognizes communities that have “made it faster, easier and more affordable for home owners to invest in solar energy.”
SolSmart judges cities on a strict scorecard, evaluating things like permitting, planning, zoning, inspections, solar rights and construction codes. SolSmart solar-friendly cities in Texas include:
- Austin Texas (Gold Award)
- Brownsville Texas (Silver Award)
- Cedar Hill Texas (Gold Award)
- Corinth Texas (Gold Award, Permitting and Inspection)
- Denton Texas (Gold Award, Permitting and Inspection)
- El Paso Texas (Gold Award)
- Kennedale Texas (Silver Award)
- Lewisville Texas (Bronze Award)
- Plano Texas (Bronze Award)
- San Antonio Texas (Silver Award)
- Smithville Texas (Silver Award)
Note that city managers must apply for this award. So if your city isn’t listed, it may just mean they haven’t applied for this program.
For example Farmer’s Branch will power all of its municipal buildings with solar panels by 2024 and is a solar-friendly city, but doesn’t have any awards under this program.
2022 U.S. Shining Cities Report – Texas Cities Ranked for Solar Power
The U.S. Shining Cities Report by Environment America tracks the installation of rooftop solar across the country. Their report is published every two years. Four Texas cities are featured in the U.S. Shining Cities Report.
|City||Per Capita Solar (Watts/person)||Total Solar Capacity (MW)||Designation|
|San Antonio||247.4||354.9||Solar Superstar|
We also thought it would be interesting to compare the results of the 2020 vs. 2022 report. As you can see below, the increase in solar installation in just 2 years is staggering. We expect continued growth in rooftop solar installations in Texas.
Google Project Sunroof – Best Places for Rooftop Solar in Texas
Another way to tell if you live in a Texas city that’s great for solar is to check Project Sunroof.
Using images from Google Maps, Google Earth, 3D modeling and machine learning, Project Sunroof calculates the amount of sunlight each rooftop receives over the year. Their calculations take into account weather, your position on the earth and shade from trees or other buildings.
So if you want to know if your rooftop is good for solar? This is the place to go. Enter your address to see your roof’s total solar potential. Then get an estimate on the costs for a solar installation for your home, by completing the form below.
According to Project Sunroof, Houston is the city with the most rooftop solar potential in the United States.
Their evaluation shows Houston has the potential for 18,940 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of solar power, if all available business and home rooftops were tapped. The average Texas home uses 15,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. There are one million kWh in a GWh. So if every Houston rooftop was tapped, we could power 1.3 million homes. That’s a lot of power.
Here are large Texas cities ranked by their sun potential:
|City||% of Solar Viable Rooftops|
Google isn’t always perfect. We wondered why the score for solar-viable roofs was so low for Lewisville and Dallas. Turns out their assessment of Lewisville includes the LLELA Nature Preserve and part of Lewisville Lake! And their assessment of viable land in Dallas includes Lake Ray Hubbard. Also, Google Project Sunroof was last updated in 2018, so their information on solar installations is out of date.
The best way to evaluate rooftop solar for your home is to talk to a solar installer. They can help you understand the complete process.