Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) President and CEO Julia Hamm released the following statement on two new solar energy industry projects in Texas.
“SEPA applauds municipal utilities, Austin Energy and CPS Energy, for hitting significant milestones on projects that will dramatically increase Texas’ solar capacity, providing environmentally friendly solar power to customers while advancing the state’s renewable energy goals. Both utilities are integral members of SEPA and are a testament to the forward thinking of our nation’s municipally owned utilities.
“CPS Energy, the nation’s largest municipally owned natural gas and electric utility, announced the selection of OCI Solar Power to provide 400 MW of solar power. The new solar project will generate enough electricity to power 80,000 homes, making it one of the largest solar projects in the world, and will deliver significant benefits to the utility’s San Antonio customers. The project is also expected to create 800-plus professional and technical jobs, and more than $1 billion in construction investment within the city.
“Austin Energy, another municipally owned utility, recently cut ribbon on the Webberville Solar project that will generate 30 MW of green energy, enough to power 6,000 homes in Austin. The project brings Austin Energy one step closer to meetings its goal of producing 35 percent of its energy portfolio from renewables by 2020.
“While the use of utility-scale solar power has steadily spread across all parts of the nation, the abundance of solar resources in Texas makes it a perfect location for new projects of this scale. The planned addition of 430 MW of clean, renewable solar energy onto the Texas grid is nothing short of remarkable, and highlights the progressive nature of municipally owned utilities. Our most recent Utility Solar Rankings report found that the top 10 utilities with the greatest solar activity added 561 MW of new capacity last year. The CPS Energy and Austin Energy projects will produce the equivalent of more than 75 percent of that new capacity on their own.
“Municipal utilities are rapidly growing their solar capacity across the nation. In 2010, the annual capacity from all municipal utilities was 87.5 MW—an increase of more than 165% over the 2009 total.
The CPS Energy and Austin Energy solar projects show the impressive trend is continuing as solar energy becomes an increasingly appealing option not just in the sunny Southwest, but across the nation.”
Information about other utility projects with the solar energy industry is available on SEPA’s website. You can also visit the SEPA website for information on the upcoming PV America West solar energy industry trade show.