(Not so) sunny news

New report throws shade on Houston's renewable energy use in 'solar cities' ranking

Sunny Houston fails to place on Thumbtack's new list. Photo by Adrian N on Unsplash

As the cost of solar panel installation becomes more attainable to homeowners, more Americans are willing to reduce their carbon emissions and their electricity bills in the process.

So just where does Houston rank in new tech like solar panel installation? According to a new report from home service management platform Thumbtack, it doesn't.

Houston, which has no shortage of sun — as residents are well aware — fails to place in Thumbtack's new list of the top 15 most "solar" cities in the United States.

Austin leads the way for Texas, ranking the No. 3 most “solar” city in the U.S., per Thumbtack. Austin, with the highest net-new solar panel installations within the past year in Texas, splits up four Californian cities in the top five. Only San Diego (No. 1) and Los Angeles (No. 2) outranked Austin.

San Antonio follows not behind atNo. 9 and just outside the top 10 is Dallas-Fort Worth at No. 11.

For the curious, Texas Property Code 202.010 forbids homeowner associations from restricting the installation of solar panels, so any Texas homeowner can do it as long as they follow the standard procedure for “improving” their home to comply with a separate state law.

Thumbtack home expert David Steckel said in a press release that they chose to focus the report on cities with the most new solar installations because they wanted to “celebrate those [cities] making the biggest change.”

“When we looked at all solar projects – from installations to modifications, repairs, consultations and more – we found that unsurprisingly, California dominated the list with 9 out of the top 10 spots – given their long-term commitment to and adoption of solar energy," he said. "We really wanted to celebrate cities that are seeing a shift in behavior.”

The top 10 most “solar” cities in the U.S. are:

  • No. 1 – San Diego
  • No. 2 – Los Angeles
  • No. 3 – Austin
  • No. 4 – Palm Springs, California
  • No. 5 – San Francisco
  • No. 6 – Las Vegas
  • No. 7 – Phoenix
  • No. 8 – Orlando
  • No. 9 – San Antonio
  • No. 10 – Tampa, Florida

Steckel said the company has seen a year-over-year increase of up to 96 percent in solar energy projects among consumers for March 2023.

“We recently found that 71 percent of Americans are prioritizing sustainable, energy-efficient home improvement projects this year – with more than one-third of Americans planning to install solar panels in 2023 – showing an accelerating change in consumer behavior,” he said.

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This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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Building Houston

 
 

Baylor College of Medicine's Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower is set to open in 2026. Rendering courtesy of BCM

Baylor College of Medicine has collected $100 million toward its $150 million fundraising goal for the college’s planned Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.

The $100 million in gifts include:

  • A total of $30 million from The Cullen Foundation, The Cullen Trust for Health Care, and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education.
  • $12 million from the DeBakey Medical Foundation
  • $10 million from the Huffington Foundation
  • More than $45 million from members of Baylor’s Board of Trustees and other community donors, including the M.D. Anderson Foundation, the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation, and The Elkins Foundation.

“The Cullen Trust for Health Care is very honored to support this building along with The Cullen Foundation and The Cullen Trust for Higher Education,” Cullen Geiselman Muse, chair of The Cullen Trust for Health Care, says in a news release. “We cannot wait to see what new beginnings will come from inside the Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower.”

The Baylor campus is next to Texas Medical Center’s Helix Park, a 37-acre project. Rendering courtesy of BCM

The Lillie and Roy Cullen Tower is set to open in 2026. The 503,000-square-foot tower is the first phase of Baylor’s planned Health Sciences Park, an 800,000-square-foot project that will feature medical education and research adjacent to patient care at Baylor Medicine and Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center on the McNair Campus.

The Baylor campus is next to Texas Medical Center’s Helix Park, a 37-acre project that will support healthcare, life sciences, and business ventures. Baylor is the anchor tenant in the first building being constructed at Helix Park.

“To really change the future of health, we need a space that facilitates the future,” says Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO, and executive dean of Baylor. “We need to have a great building to recruit great talent. Having a place where our clinical programs are located, where our data scientists are, next to a biotech development center, and having our medical students all integrated into that environment will allow them to be ready in the future for where healthcare is going.”

In the 1940s, Lillie and Roy Cullen and the M.D. Anderson Foundation were instrumental in establishing the Texas Medical Center, which is now the world’s largest medical complex.

“Baylor is the place it is today because of philanthropy,” Klotman says. “The Cullen family, the M.D. Anderson Foundation, and the Albert and Margaret Alkek Foundation have been some of Baylor’s most devoted champions, which has enabled Baylor to mold generations of exceptional health sciences professionals. It is fitting that history is repeating itself with support for this state-of-the-art education building.”

The Cullen Foundation donated $30 million to the project. Rendering courtesy of BCM

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