Solar In Texas Is About To Get Bigger

San Antonio may soon become the solar energy capital of Texas.  A large new solar electricity project there will be the largest in the U.S. when completed.  Texas is already a leader in wind electricity and natural gas production.  Completion of the San Antonio solar project will also vault the state into the top 5 states for solar energy production.

The project is a collaboration between CPS Energy, the municipally owned utility who provides electricity toSan Antonio, and OCI Solar Power who will build and operate the 400 megawatt solar power facility.  An output of this size is enough to power around 70,000 homes.  CPS Energy and OSI Solar Power have entered into a 25 year power purchase agreement meaning the city agrees to purchase power from the facility over that timeframe.

OSI estimates that the project will create around 800 long term jobs and pump around $700 million annually into the local economy.  The company will also be locating itsU.S.headquarters inSan Antonio.  The San Antonioproject is part of a larger push by OSI, a South Korean owned company, into the sustainable energy market in North American.  In addition to this project the company has around 40 other projects of various sizes throughout theU.S. 

There are several factors that give Texas an advantage in solar energy.  Texas has the most open land of the lower 48 states, much of which is bathed with sunlight most of the year.  The state has a mature energy industry and large labor force that is cheap compared to other parts of the country.  The state was recently named the number one state for business by CNBC.  Beyond these factors Texas electricity providers will be hungry for electricity for the next few decades as it struggles to come up with enough power to serve the growing population and relatively strong economy.  

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Holbert is the editor for the Texas Chamber of Commerce Energy Association newsletter, businessman, expert on Texas electricity and a lifelong Texan.

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