Everythings Bigger In Texas, Even Solar Energy Potential

by Ed Tsunoda

Think of energy and oil in the US and you think of Texas. But you might not think solar energy potential, until you consider it’s solar friendly close to the equator flat desert area exposed to some of the most power solar radiation in the world geographic positioning. Plus, it turns out that having the infrastructure in place to transport energy be it produced by solar or oil or wind makes it easier to convert the resource into power people can use.

The 200-acre project sits in Pecos County, part of the Permian Basin, a region better known for its prolific oil production.

“Projects like this bring good jobs to the local economy, while diversifying our energy sources,” state Rep. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, said in a statement.

Joe Shuster, the Pecos County judge, said he hopes folks will one day call his slice of the region the “Texas solar patch.”

Barilla is not the largest solar project in Texas. CPS Energy’s Alamo project in San Antonio (41 megawatts, with plans for additional plants that would total 400 megawatts) and Austin Energy’s 30-megawatt Webberville facility have it beat. And last May, Austin Energy signed a deal with a California company to build a 150-megawatt solar farm somewhere in West Texas.

But the Barilla project is unique in Texas because its developers – confident that their electricity can compete on the open market – have forged ahead without signing a power purchase agreement, which would guarantee a buyer for their energy.

Texas, because of its size and intense radiation, leads the nation in solar energy potential. Much of that resource is in the state’s western half, according to the State Energy Conservation Office. The industry has long struggled to get a foothold in the state, as policymakers have provided fewer incentives than other states, and solar energy currently makes up a tiny fraction of Texas’ energy portfolio.

source: myhighplains.com

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