“Texas is making a conscious decision about clean energy, and I just want to make sure are making a decision about where to place ourselves strategically,” Garcia said.
Harris County Precinct 2 is home to most of the oil and gas industry in Harris County, Garcia said. While he does not think the world will ever stop using fossil fuels, he said he does see solar energy growing in popularity.
“I have always been a proponent of clean energy,” he said. “I have been working since Day 1 of becoming county commissioner to make sure that Harris County is making as strong of a statement with clean energy—solar in particular—as it is with any other kind of energy.”
For Garcia, this means making sure that once solar energy becomes more popular, there will be jobs for the industry in Precinct 2.
“I want the jobs, skill sets, education, marketing and infrastructure all in place,” he said.
The Houston area is becoming a more popular area for solar energy, said Hanna Mitchell, Texas program director at Solar United Neighbors, a nonprofit that works to help interested residents in the same geographical region form a solar co-op, which brings down the cost of installing solar in their homes.
The nonprofit was founded in 2011 and came to Texas in 2018. Since then, Houston has been the most popular market for using solar energy, Mitchell said.
One SUN co-op of roughly 30 households was created in September in the Pasadena, La Porte and League City area.
Garcia is also considering having solar power his home, he said.
“When people see it on their neighbor’s roof and they see it more normalized, we see more people thinking of getting solar themselves,” Mitchell said.
As solar energy is becoming more popular, it is also becoming more cost-efficient for residents, Mitchell said.
Houston is considered the energy capital of the world, Garcia and Mitchell said, but they argued the city's history in oil, fossil fuels and petroleum does not have to be at odds with solar energy.
“Houston prides itself on being the energy capital of the world, and I think that it can be an all-of-the-above energy capital of the world,” Mitchell said.